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(EBNAD1AN  MESSENGER 
LIBRARY 

Section 

Number 


Coll.  Christi  Regis  S.J. 

Bibl.    Phil. 
Torontonense 


A 


THE     COMPLETE     WORKS 

OF 

SAINT  ALPHONSUS  DE  LIGUORI, 

DOCTOR  OF  THE  CHURCH, 

Bishop  of  Saint  Agatha,  and  Founder  of  the  Congregation  of  the  Most 
Holy  Redeemer. 

TRANSLATED  FROM  THE  ITALIAN. 

EDITED  BY 

IRIE^T".     E  TJ  Gr  IE  3ST  IE     Gr  ~R  I  3VC  JML  3 

Priest  of  the  Congregation  of  the  Most  Holy  Redeemer. 


THE   ASCETICAL   WORKS. 
Volume  IV. 

THE 

INCARNATION,  BIRTH  AND   INFANCY 
OF    JESUS    CHRIST  ; 

OR, 

THE  MYSTERIES  OF  THE  FAITH, 


IStrttion. 


THE  COMPLETE  ASCETICAL  WORKS 

OF 

ST.  ALPHONSUS  DE  LIQUOR! 

24  vols.,  Price,  per  vol.,  */<?/,   $1.25. 

J£ae/i  6oofc  is  complete  in  itself,  and  any  volume  will  bv 
gold  separately, 


/olume    I. 

II. 

6'       III. 

"'«'  ""iv. 


vii., 


«'        IX. 
X., 


XIV. 
"       XV. 


"     XVI. 
"  XVII. 


••  xvin. 

"  XXII. 
"  XXIII. 


PREPARATION  FOR  DEATH  ;  or,  Considerations  on  the  Eter. 
nal  Truths.  Maxims  of  Eternity— Rule  of  Life. 

WAY  OF  SALVATION  AND  OF  PERFECTION  :  Meditations. 
Pious  Reflections.  Spiritual  Treatises. 

GREAT  MEANS  OF  SALVATION  AND  OF  PERFECTION  : 
Prayer.  Mental  Prayer.  The  Exercises  of  a  Retreat. 
Choice  of  a  State  of  Life,  and  the  Vocation  to  the 

:%  .Religious  State  and  to  the  Priesthood. 

THE  INCARNATION,  BIRTH  AND  INFANCY  OF  JESUS 
CHRIST  ;  or,  The  Mysteries  of  Faith. 

THE  PASSION  AND  THE  DEATH  of  JESUS  CHRIST. 

THE  HOLY  EUCHARIST.  The  Sacrifice,  the  Sacrament, 
and  the  Sacred  Heart  of  Jesus  Christ.  Practice  of  Love 
of  Jesus  Christ.  Novena  to  the  Holy  Ghost. 

VIII.  _  GLORIES  ^ OF  MARTS  i.  Explanation  of  the  Salve 
Regina,  or  Hail,  Holy  Queen.  Discourses  on  the  Feasts 
of  Mary.  2.  Her  Dolors.  Her  Virtues.  Practices. 
Examples.  Answers  to  Critics. — Devotion  to  the  Holy 
Angels.  Devotion  to  St.  Joseph.  Novena  to  St.  Teresa' 
Novena  for  the  Repose,  of  the  Souls  in  Purgatory. 

VICTORIES  OF  THE  MARTYRS  ;  or,  the  Lives  of  the  Most. 
Celebrated  Martyrs  of  the  Church. 

XL  THE  TRUE  SPOUSE  OF  JESUS  CHRIST  :  i.  The  first 
sixteen  Chapters.  2.  The  last  eight  Chapters.  Appendi; 
and  various  small  Works.  Spiritual  Letters. 
,  DIGNITY  AND  DUTIES  OF  THE  PRIEST  ;  or,  SELVA,  a 
collection  of  Material  for  Ecclesiastical  Retreats.  Rule 
of  Life  and  Spiritual  Rules. 

THE  HOLY  MASS  :  Sacrifice  of  Jesus  Christ.  Ceremonies 
of  the  Mass.  Preparation  and  Thanksgiving.  The  Mass 
and  the  Office  that  are  hurriedly  said. 

THE  DIVINE  OFFICE:  Explanation  of  the  Psalms  and 
Canticles. 

PREACHING  :  The  Exercises  of  the  Missions.  Various 
Counsels.  Instructions  on  the  Commandments  and 
Sacraments. 

SERMONS  FOR  SUNDAYS. 

MISCELLANY.  Historical  Sketch  ot  the  Congregation  of  the 
Most  Holy  Redeemer.  Rules  and  Constitutions  of  the 
Congregation  of  the  Most  Holy  Redeemer.  Instructions 
about  the  Religious  State.  Lives  of  two  Fathers  and  of  a 
Lay  Brother,  C.SS.  R.  Discourses  on  Calamities.  Re 
flections  useful  for  Bishops.  Rules  for  Seminaries. 
,  XIX.,  XX.,  XXL  LETTERS. 

LETTERS  AND  GENERAL  ALPHABETICAL  INDEX. 
,  XXIV.     LIFE  OF  ST.  ALPHONSUS  DE  LIGUORI. 


Benziger  Brothers,  New  *ork-  Cincinnati,  and  Chicago. 


THE  INCARNATION, 

BIRTH  AND  INFANCY 

OF  JESUS  CHRIST; 


OR, 


Coll.  Christi  Regis  S, 


THE  MYSTERIES  OF  THE  FAITH,     TBil 

lorontonense 

BY 

ST.  ALPHONSUS  DE  LIGUORI, 

Doctor  of  the  Church. 

EDITED    BY 

REV.    EUGENE    GRIMM, 

Priest  of  the  Congreg  ition  of  the  Most  Holy  Redeemer. 
SECOND     EDITION. 


NEW  YORK,  CINCINNATI,  AND  CHICAGO: 
IBEHSTZIG-IEDR, 

Printers  to  the  Holy  Apostolic  See. 

R.  WASHBOURNE,  M.  H.GILL  &  SON, 

18  PATERNOSTER  Row,  LONDON.  53  UPPER  O^CONNELL  STREET,  DUBLIN. 


APPROBATION. 

By  virtue  of  the  authority  granted  me  by  the  Most  Rev.  Nicholas 
Mauron,  Superior-General  of  the  Congregation  of  the  Most  Holy 
Redeemer,  I  hereby  sanction  the  publication  of  the  work  entitled 
"The  Mysteries  of  the  Faith — The  Incarnation,"  which  is  Vol.  IV. 
the  new  and  complete  edition  in  English  of  the  works  of  Saint 
Alphonsus  de  Liguori,  called  "The  Centenary  Edition." 

ELIAS  FRED.  SCHAUER, 

Sup.  Prov.  Baltimorensis. 
BALTIMORE,  MD.,  September  8,  1886. 


Copyright,  1886,  by  ELIAS  FREDERICK  SCHAUER. 


Coll.  Christi  Regis  S.J. 

Bibl.   Phil. 
Torontonense 


CONTENTS. 


APPROBATION 6 

NOTICE I2 

THE  MYSTERIES  OF  THE  FAITH. 
THE  INCARNATION. 

DISCOURSES  FOR  THE  NOVENA  OF  CHRISTMAS. 

DISCOURSE 

I.  The  eternal  Word  is  made  man 13 

II.  The  eternal  Word  being  great  becomes  little 32 

III .  The  eternal  Word  from  being  lord  became  a  servant. .  .     46 

IV.  The  eternal  Word  from  being  innocent  becomes  as  it 

were  guilty 59 

V.     The  eternal  Word  from  being  strong  became  weak 73 

VI.     The  eternal  Word  from  being  his  own  has  made  him 
self  ours 85 

VII.     The    eternal  Word   from   being   happy   made   himself 

afflicted 98 

VIII.     The  eternal  Word  from  being  rich  made  himself  poor. .  113 

IX.     The  eternal  Word  from  being  high  made  himself  low.  .  126 

Discourse  for  Christmas  night.     The  birth  of  Jesus  Christ 140 

Discourse  on  the  name  of  Jesus I5I 

Examples  of  the  Infant  Jesus l64 

MEDITATIONS 

FOR  EVERY  DAY  OF  ADVENT. 
MEDITATION 

I.     Goodness  of  God  in  the  work  of  the  redemption 172 

II.  Grandeur  of  the  mystery  of  the  Incarnation 174 

III.  The  love  of  God  for  men *77 

IV.  The  Word  was  made  man  in  the  fulness  of  time 179 

V.     The  abasement  of  Jesus ...........   182 


8  Contents. 

MEDITATION  PAGE 

VI.     Jesus  enlightens  the  world  and  glorifies  God 185 

VII.     The  Son  of  God  was  laden  with  all  our  iniquities 187 

VIII.     God  sends  his  Son  to  die  in  order  to  restore  us  to  life..    190 
IX.      The   love  that   the   Son  of  God  has   shown  us  in  the 

redemption I(^2 

X.     Jesus,    the    man    of   sorrows,    from    the    womb   of   his 

Mother ^ 

XI.     Jesus  charged  with  the  sins  of  the  whole  world 197 

XII.     Jesus  suffers  during  his  whole  life 199 

XIII.     Jesus  wished  to  suffer  so  much  to  gain  our  hearts 201 

XIV.     The  greatest  sorrow  of  Jesus 204 

XV.     The  poverty  of  the  Infant  Jesus 206 

XVI.     Jesus  is  the  fountain  of  grace 208 

XVII.     Jesus  the  charitable  physician  of  our  souls 210 

XVIII.     We  should  hope  all  things  from    the  merits  of   Jesus 

Christ 212 

MEDITATIONS 

FOR   THE    NOVENA    OF    CHRISTMAS. 

I.     God  has  given  us  his  only  Son  to  save  us 214 

II.     Bitterness   of  the  heart  of  Jesus  in   the  womb  of  his 

mother.... , ..   217 

III.  Jesus  made  himself  a  child  to  gain  our  confidence  and 

our  love 219 

IV.  The  Passion  of  Jesus  lasted  during  his  whole  life 222 

V.     Jesus  offered  himself  for  our  salvation  from  the  begin 
ning 225 

VI.     Jesus  a  prisoner  in  the  womb  of  Mary 227 

VII.     The  sorrow  that  the  ingratitude  of  man  caused  Jesus. . .   229 
VIII.     The   love  of  God   manifested   to  man  by  the  birth  of 

Jesus 232 

IX.     St.  Joseph  goes  to  Bethlehem  with  his  holy  spouse 235 

MEDITATIONS 

FOR  THE  OCTAVE  OF  CHRISTMAS  AND  THE  FOLLOWING  DAYS  TILL 
THE  EPIPHANY. 

I.     The  birth  of  Jesus 238 

II.     Jesus  is  born  an  Infant 240 

HI,.     Jesus  in  swaddling-clothes , 243 


Contents.  9 


MEDITATION  PAGE 

IV.  Jesus  taking  milk „ 246 

V.     Jesus  lying  on  the  straw 248 

VI.  Jesus  sleeping 251 

VII.  Jesus  weeping - 253 

VIII.  The  name  of  Jesus 255 

IX.  The  solitude  of  Jesus  in  the  stable.    258 

X.  The  occupation   of  the  Infant  Jesus  in   the  stable  of 

Bethlehem 261 

XI.  The  poverty  of  the  Infant  Jesus 263 

XII.  The  abasement  of  Jesus , 265 

FOR  THE  OCTAVE  OF  THE  EPIPHANY. 

I.     The  adoration  of  the  Magi „ 268 

II.     The  presentation  of  Jesus  in  the  Temple 270 

III.  The  flight  of  Jesus  into  Egypt „ 272 

IV.  The  dwelling  of  Jesus  in  Egypt 274 

V.  The  return  of  Jesus  from  Egypt. 277 

VI.     The  dwelling  of  Jesus  at  Nazareth.  „ , „  279 

VII.     The  same  subjec^  continued 281 

VIII.     The  loss  of  Jesus  in  the  Temple „  „ 283 

OTHER  MEDITATIONS. 

FOR    THE    FIRST    ElGIIT    DAYS    OF    ADVENT. 

I.     The  love  that  God  has  manifested  to  us  in  the  incarna 
tion  of  the  Word 286 

II.     Goodness  of  God  the  Father  and  of  God  the  Son  in  the 

work  of  the  redemption 287 

III.  Motives  of  confidence  that  are  given  to  us  by  the  incar 

nation  of  the  Word 289 

IV.  Happiness  of  having  been   born  after  the  redemption 

and  in  the  true  Church , 291 

V.     Jesus  has  done  and  suffered  everything  to  save  us 293 

VI.     The    sight   of   our    sins    afflicted    Jesus    from    the   first 

moment  of  his  life 294 

VII.     The  desire  that  Jesus  had  to  suffer  for  us 296 

VIII,     Three  fountains  of  grace  that  we  have  in  Jesus  Christ.  298 


JO  Contents. 

OTHER  MEDITATIONS. 

FOR    THE    NOVENA    OF    CHRISTMAS. 

(Chaplet  to  be  recited  before  every  meditation,  300.) 

ME1UTATION 

PA  G  E 

I.  The  love  that  God  has  shown  to  us  in  becoming  man.  .   301 

II.  The  love  of  God  in  being  born  an  Infant  .............   303 

fll.  The  life  of  poverty  which  Jesus  led  even  from  his  birth.  305 

IV.  The  life  of  humility  which  Jesus  led  even  from  his  in- 


306 

V.     The  life  of  sorrow  which  Jesus  led  even  from  his  birth.    308 
VI.     The  mercy  of  God  in  coming  down  from  heaven  to  save 

us  by  his  death  .................................   3O 

VII.     The  journey  of  the  Infant  Jesus  to  Egypt  .............   3n 

VIII.     The  sojourn  of  the  Infant  Jesus  in  Egypt  and  in  Naza- 

reth  ......  •  .....................................   312 

IX.     The  birth  of  the  Infant  Jesus  in  the  cave  of  Bethlehem.   314 
Another  meditation  for  the  feast  of  the  circumcision  ............   316 

Another  meditation  for  the  feast  of  the  Epiphany  ..............   3I8 

Another  meditation  for  the  feast  of  the  Holy  Name  .......  .320 

HYMNS.  . 

....................................  322 

Ode  on  the  birth  of  our  Saviour  Jesus  Christ,   322.     The 
Madonna's  Lullaby,  328.     St.  Joseph  addressing  the  divine 
child  Jesus,  330.     To  the  Infant  Jesus  in  the  crib,  331.     To 
the  Infant  Jesus,  332. 
The  Way  of  Bethlehem  .....................................  334 

INDULGENCES  attached  to  the  exercises  of  piety  in  honor  of  the 
Infant  Jesus  .......................... 

DARTS  OF  FIRE  ; 

or, 

Proofs  that  Jesus  Christ  has  given  us  of  his  love  in  the  work  of 
the  redemption  ...............  .................... 

HYMN.        The  soul  sighing  for  Jesus  ..........................  4o6 

Pious  SENTIMENTS  of  a  soul   that  desires  to  belong  entirely  to 

Jesus  Christ  .............................................  ^ 

Sentiments  of  a  lively  faith,  407;  —  of  confidence,  409  ; 
—  of  penitence,  413;  —  of  purpose  of  amendment,  415;  _  of 
love,  417;  —  of  conformity  to  the  will  of  God,  421;  —  Di 
verse  affections,  422. 

SIGHS  of  love  towards  God  .........................  427 


Contents.  1 1 

ASPIRATIONS  of  love  to  Jesus  Christ <34 

MAXIMS  for  attaining  perfection  in  the  love  of  Jesus  Christ 437 

ACTS  that  the  Christian  should  perform  every  day 440 

MANNER  of  making  mental  prayer 445 

EJACULATORY  PRAYERS  for  the  twelve  greatest  solemnities  in  the 
year> — seven  of  our  Lord  and  five  of  the  Blessed  Virgin, — 
which  may  be  used  at  any  other  time  and  on  any  day,  accord 
ing  to  each  one's  devotion 44^ 

HYMN.     Aspirations  to  Jesus • 449 

NOVENA  to  the  holy  name  of  Jesus 451 

HYMN.     To  the  Infant  Jesus. . .  o 465 

INDEX 466 


St.  Alphonsus  wrote  the  following  little  work  in  1750; 
but  bis  infirmities  and  his  many  duties  did  not  permit 
him  to  publish  it  till  the  year  1758. 

By  a  Novena  we  mean  the  nine  days  that  precede  a 
feast;  the  first  day  of  the  novena  of  Christmas  is,  there 
fore,  the  i6th  of  December. 

These  discourses  may  serve  either  for  meditation  or 
for  spiritual  reading.  After  the  discourses  will  be  found 
novenas  of  meditations  and  of  prayers.  There  is  also 
added  a  list  of  the  indulgences  attached  to  this  exer 
cise. — ED. 


THE  MYSTERIES  OF  THE  FAITH. 


THE    INCARNATION. 


JDiscottrscs  for  tl)e  Notmtu  of  Cljristtnas. 

DISCOURSE    I. 
The  Eternal  Word  is  made  Man. 

Ignem  veni  inittere  in  terrain  ;  et  quid  volo,  nisi  ut  accendatur  ? 

"  I  am  come  to  cast  fire  on  the  earth  ;  and  what  will  I  but  that  it  be  kindled  ?"— 
Luke,  xii.  49. 

THE  Jews  solemnized  a  day  called  by  them  dies  ignis,1 
the  day  of  fire,  in  memory  of  the  fire  with  which  Nehe- 
mias  consumed  the  sacrifice,  upon  his  return  with  his 
countrymen  from  the  captivity  of  Babylon.  Even  so, 
and  indeed  with  more  reason,  should  Christmas-day  be 
called  the  day  of  fire,  on  which  a  God  came  as  a  little 
child  to  cast  the  fire  of  love  into  the  hearts  of  men. 

/  came  to  cast  fire  on  the  earth:  so  spoke  Jesus  Christ; 
and  truly  so  it  was.  Before  the  coming  of  the  Messias, 
who  loved  God  upon  earth?  Hardly  was  he  known  in  a 
nook  of  i:he  world,  that  is,  in  Judea;  and  even  there  how 
very  few  loved  him  when  he  came!  As  to  the  rest  of 
the  world,  some  worshipped  the  sun,  some  the  brutes, 
some  the  very  stones,  and  others  again  even  viler  crea 
tures  still.  But  after  the  coming  of  Jesus  Christ,  the  name 
of  God  became  everywhere  known,  and  was  loved  by 
many.  After  the  Redeemer  was  born,  God  was  more  loved 
by  men  in  a  few  years  than  he  had  before  been  in  the 
lapse  of  four  thousand  years,  since  the  creation  of  man, 
1  2  Mach.  \.  i3. 


14     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

It  is  a  custom  with  many  Christians  to  anticipate  the 
arrival  of  Christmas  a  considerable  time  beforehand  by 
fitting  up  in  their  homes  a  crib  to  represent  the  birth  of 
Jesus  Christ;  but  few  there  are  who  think  of  preparing 
their  hearts,  in  order  that  the  Infant  Jesus  may  be  born 
in  them,  and  there  find  his  repose.  Among  these  few, 
however,  we  would  be  reckoned,  in  order  that  we  too 
may  be  made  worthy  to  burn  witli  that  happy  flame 
which  gives  contentment  to  souls  on  this  earth,  and  bliss 
in  heaven. 

Let  us  consider  on  this  first  day  how  the  Eternal 
Word  had  no  other  end  in  becoming  man  than  to  inflame 
us  with  his  divine  love.  Let  us  ask  light  of  Jesus  Christ 
and  of  his  most  holy  Mother,  and  so  let  us  begin. 


Adam,  our  first  parent,  sins;  ungrateful  for  the  great 
benefits  conferred  on  him,  he  rebels  against  God,  by  a 
violation  of  the  precept  given  him  not  to  eat  of  the  for 
bidden  fruit.  On  this  account  God  is  obliged  to  drive 
him  out  of  the  earthly  paradise  in  this  world,  and  in  the 
world  to  come  to  deprive  not  only  Adam,  but  all  the 
descendants  of  this  rebellious  creature,  of  the  heavenly 
and  everlasting  paradise  which  he  had  prepared  for 
them  after  this  mortal  life. 

Behold,  then,  all  mankind  together  condemned  to  a 
life  of  pain  and  misery,  and  forever  shut  out  from  heav 
en.  -But  hearken  to  God,  who,  as  Isaias  tells  us  in  his 
fifty-second  chapter,  would  seem,  after  our  manner  of 
understanding,  to  give  vent  to  his  affliction  in  lamenta 
tions  and  vvailings:  And  now  what  have  I  here,  saith  the 
Lord,  for  My  people  is  taken  away  gratis?  "And  now," 
says  God,  "what  delight  have  I  left  in  heaven,  now  that 
I  have  lost  men,  who  were  my  delight?"  My  delights 

"  Et  nunc,  quid  mihi  est  hie,  dicit  Dominus,  quoniam  ablatus  est 
populus  meus  gratis?" — Isai.  Hi.  5. 


The  Eternal  Word  is  made  Man.          15 

were  to  be  with  the  children  of  men.1  But  how  is  this,  O 
Lord?  Thou  hast  in  heaven  so  many  seraphim,  so  many 
angels;  and  canst  Thou  thus  take  to  heart  having  lost 
men?  Indeed,  what  need  hast  Thou  of  angels  or  of  men 
to  fill  up  the  sum  of  Thy  happiness?  Thou  hast  always 
been,  and  Thou  art  in  Thyself,  most  happy;  what  can 
ever  be  wanting  to  Thy  bliss,  which  is  infinite?  "That 
is  all  true,"  says  God;  "but"  (and  these  are  the  words 
of  Cardinal  Hugo  on  the  above  text  of  Isaias)— "  but, 
losing  man,  I  deem  that  I  have  nothing;2  I  consider  that 
I  have  lost  all,  since  my  delight  was  to  be  with  men; 
and  now  these  men  I  have  lost,  and,  poor  hapless  crea 
tures,  they  are  doomed  to  live  forever  far  away  from 
me." 

But  how  can  the  Lord  call  men  his  delight?  Yes,  in 
deed,  writes  St.  Thomas,  God  loves  man  just  as  if  man 
were  his  god,  and  as  if  without  man  he  could  not  be 
happy;  "as  if  man  were  the  god  of  God  himself,  and 
without  him  he  could  not  be  happy."5  St.  Gregory  of 
Nazianzen  adds,  moreover,  that  God,  for  the  love  he 
bears  to  men,  seems  beside  himself:  "we  are  bold  to  say 
it,  God  is  out  of  himself  by  reason  of  his  immense  love;"  4 
so  runs  the  proverb,  "  Love  puts  the  lover  beside  himself." 
"But  no,"  then  said  the  Lord,  "I  will  not  lose  man; 
straightway  let  there  be  found  a  Redeemer  who  may 
satisfy  my  justice  in  behalf  of  man,  and  so  rescue  him 
from  the  hands  of  his  enemies  and  from  the  eternal 
death  due  to  him." 

And  here  St.  Bernard,  in   his  contemplations  on   this 
subject,  imagines  a  struggle   to  ensue   between  the  jus- 

1  "  Delicise  meae,  esse  cum  filiis  hominum." — Prov.  viii.  31. 

2  "  Non  repute  aliquid  me  habere." 

3  •'  Quasi  homo  Dei  Deus  esset,  et  sine  ipso  beatus  esse  non  posset." 
—  Opusc.  63,  c.  7. 

4  "  Audemus    dicere  quod    Deus,  prae   magnitudine   amoris,  extra 
se  sit." — De  Div.  Notn,  c.  4. 


1 6     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

tice  and  the  mere)'  of  God.  Justice  says:  "I  no  longer 
exist  if  Adam  be  not  punished;  I  perish  if  Adam  die 
not."  Mercy,  on  the  other  hand,  says:  "I  am  lost  if 
man  be  not  pardoned;  I  perish  if  he  does  not  obtain  for 
giveness."  :  In  this  contest  the  Lord  decides,  that  in 
order  to  deliver  man,  who  was  guilty  of  death,  some  in 
nocent  one  must  die:  "Let  one  die  who  is  no  debtor  to 
death."3 

On  earth,  there  was  not  one  innocent.     ''Since,  there 
fore,"  says   the   Eternal   Father,  "amongst  men  there  is 
none  who  can  satisfy  My  justice,  let   him   come  forward 
who  will  go  to  redeem   man."     The  angels,   the  cheru 
bim,    the  seraphim,   all   are  silent,   not   one   replies;  one 
voice   alone   is   heard,   that   of   the    Eternal    Word,  who 
says,  Lo,  here  am  I ;  send  Me?     "  Father,"  says  the  only- 
begotten  Son,  "Thy  majesty,  being  infinite,  and   having 
been  injured   by  man,  cannot   be  fittingly  satisfied  by  an 
angel,    who    is    purely    a    creature;     and    though    Thou 
mightest  accept  of  the  satisfaction   of  an   angel,  reflect 
that,  in  spite  of  so  great  benefits   bestowed  on   man,  in 
spite  of  so  many  promises  and   threats,  we  have  not  yet 
been  able  to  gain  his  love,  because  he  is  not  yet  aware 
of  the  love  we  bear  him.     If  we  would  oblige  him  with 
out  fail    to   love  us,   what   better    occasion   can  we  find 
than  that,  in  order  to  redeem  him,  I,  Thy  Son,  should  go 
upon  earth,  should   there  assume  human  flesh,  and   pay 
by  my  death  the  penalty  due  by  him.      In  this  manner 
Thy  justice  is  fully  satisfied,  and  at   the  same  time  man 
is    thoroughly  convinced    of    our    love!"     "But    think," 
answered  the  Heavenly  Father— "  think,  O  my  Son,  that 
in  taking  upon  Thyself  the  burden  of  man's  satisfaction, 
Thou  wilt  have  to  lead  a  life  full  of  sufferings!"     "No 

"  Perii,  si  Adam  non  moriatur." 

"  Perii,  nisi  misericordiam  consequatur." 

"  Moriatur,  qui  nihil  debeat  morti."— In  Annunt.  B.  M.  s.  I. 

"Ecce  ego,  mitte  me."—  Jsai.  vi.  8, 


The  Eternal  Word  is  made  Man.  \  7 

matter/'  replied  the  Son:  "  Lo,  here  am  /,  send  Me" 
"Think  that  Thou  wilt  have  to  be  born  in  a  cave,  the 
shelter  of  the  beasts  of  the  field;  thence  Thou  must  flee 
into  Egypt  whilst  still  an  infant,  to  escape  the  hands  of 
those  very  men  who,  even  from  Thy  tenderest  infancy, 
will  seek  to  take  away  Thy  life."  "It  matters  not:  Lo, 
here  am  I,  send  Me"  "Think  that,  on  Thy  return  to 
Palestine,  Thou  shalt  there  lead  a  life  most  arduous, 
most  despicable,  passing  Thy  days  as  a  simple  boy  in  a 
carpenter's  shop."  "It  matters  not:  Lo,  here  am  I,  send 
Me"  "  Think  that  when  Thou  goest  fo:  th  to  preach  and 
to  manifest  Thyself,  Thou  wilt  have  indeed  a  few,  but 
very  few,  to  follow  Thee;  the  greater  part  will  despise 
Thee  and  call  Thee  impostor,  magician,  fool,  Samaritan; 
and,  finally,  they  will  persecute  Thee  to  such  a  pass  that 
they  will  make  Thee  die  shamefully  on  a  gibbet  by  dint 
of  torments."  "  No  matter:  Lo,  here  am  7,  send  Me" 

The  decree  then  being  passed  that  the  Divine  Son 
should  be  made  man,  and  so  become  the  Redeemer  of 
men,  the  Archangel  Gabriel  speeds  on  his  way  to  Mary. 
Mary  accepts  him  for  her  Son:  And  the  Word  was  made 
flesh}~  And  thus  behold  Jesus  in  the  womb  of  Mary; 
having  now  made  his  entry  into  the  world  in  all  humil 
ity  and  obedience,  he  says:  "Since,  O  my  Father,  men 
cannot  make  atonement  to  Thy  offended  justice  by  their 
works  and  sacrifices,  behold  me,  Thy  Son,  now  clothed 
in  mortal  flesh,  behold  me  ready  to  give  Thee  in  their 
stead  satisfaction  with  my  sufferings  and  with  my 
death!"  Wherefore  when  He  cometh  into  the  world  He 
saith :  Sacrifice  and  oblation  tJwu  wouldst  not ;  but  a  body 
Thou  hast  fitted  to  me.  .  .  .  Then  said  7,  Behold,  I  come.  .  .  . 
^  It  is  written  of  Me  that  I  should  do  Thy  will? 

"  Et  Verbum  caro  factum  est." — John,  i.  14. 

"  Ideo  ingrediens  mundurn  dicit:   Hostiam  et  oblationem  noluisti; 
corpus    autem    aptasti    mihi.  .   .   .   Tune    dixi:     Ecce   venio,   .   .   .  ut 
faciam,  Deus,  voluntatem  tuam."— Heb.  x.  5. 
2 


1 8     Discourses  for  tkc  Novcna  of  Christmas. 

So   then,  for  us  miserable  worms,  and  to  captivate  our 
love,  has  a  God  deigned   to  become  man>     Yes   it  is 
matter  of  faith,  as   the  Holy  Church   teaches  us- '  Fo,   us 
men  and  for  o:,r  salvation,  He  came  down  from  heaven 
and  was  ,,,ade  man.'     Yes,  indeed,  so  much  has  God  done 
in  order  to  be  loved  by  us 


ndbd          P  e         a'us 

subdued  Pers.a,  w.shed  to  gain  the  affections  of  that 

turn        I  "  r,?0  We'n         Ut   dreSS6d   ''"  the  Pei'sian  cos- 
»me.     In  hke  manner  would  our  God  appear  to  act  ;  in 

order  to  draw   towards   him   the  affections  of    men    he 
clothed  himself  comp.ete.y  after  the  human  fashion  'a  "d 
appeared  made  man  :  in  shape  found  as  a  maa.>     And  bv 
Ins  means  he  wished  to  make  known  the  depth  of  the 


o  converse  with 
loved  .  ff<  was  seen  upon  ear(At  am  e 

The  d,v,ne  love  for  man   was  extreme,  and  so  it  I 
been  from  all  eternity:  I  have 


and  i 


ab  e  it  r  n      nconcev- 

Then  ,t  truly  appeared,  when   the  Son   of 

of  stra        ?/     "I"  3  'ittle  °"e  !n  3  Stab'e  °"  a  b""dle 
•aw  :   The  goodness  and  kindness  of  God  our  Saviour 


Habitu  inventus  ut  homo."—  Phil,  ii    7 
^-•Apparuit  gratia  Dei  Sa,vatoris    nostri   omnibus  hominibus."- 

...••In  terns  visus  est,  at  cum  hominibus  conversatus  ^'- 


TJie  Eternal  Word  is  made  Man.  19 

appeared.1  The  Greek  text  reads  :  The  singular  love  of 
God  towards  men  appeared.  St.  Bernard  says  that  from 
the  beginning  the  world  had  seen  the  power  of  God  in 
the  creation,  and  his  wisdom  in  the  government  of  the 
world  ;  but  only  afterwards,  in  the  Incarnation  of  the 
Word,  was  seen  how  great  was  his  mercy.2  Before  God 
was  seen  made  man  upon  earth,  men  could  not  conceive  an 
idea  of  the  divine  goodness  ;  therefore  did  he  take 
mortal  flesh,  that,  appearing  as  man,  he  might  make  plain 
to  men  the  greatness  of  his  benignity.3 

And  in  what  manner  could  the  Lord  better  display  to 
thankless  man  his  goodness  and  his  love  ?  Man,  by  de 
spising  God,  says  St.  Fulgentius,  put  himself  aloof  from 
God  forever  ;  but  as  man  was  unable  to  return  to  God, 
God  came  in  search  of  him  on  earth.4  And  St.  Augus 
tine  had  already  said  as  much  :  '•  Because  we  could  not 
go  to  the  Mediator,  he  condescended  to  come  to  us."6 

/  will  draw  them  with  the  cords  of  Adam,  with  the  bands 
of  love*  Men  allow  themselves  to  be  drawn  by  love  ; 
the  tokens  of  affection  shown  to  them  area  sort  of  chain 
which  binds  them,  and  in  a  manner  forces  them  to  love 
those  who  love  them.  For  this  end  the  Eternal  Word 
chose  to  become  man,  to  draw  to  himself  by  such  a  pledge 

"  Benignitas  et  humanitas  apparuit  Salvatoris  nostri  Dei." — Tit. 
iii.  4. 

"  Apparuerat  ante  potentia  in  rerum  creatione  ;  apparebat  sapi- 
entia  in  earum  gubernadone  ;  sed  benignitas  misericordiae  maxime 
apparuit  in  humanitate." — In  Nat.  D.  s.  i. 

3  "  Priusquam  appareret  humanitas,  latebat  benignitas.  Sed,  unde 
tanta  agnosci  poterat  ?  Venit  in  carne,  ut,  apparente  humanitate, 
benignitas  agnosceretur." — In  Epiph.  s.  i. 

"Homo,  Deum  contemnens,  a  Deo  discessit ;  Deus,  hominem 
diligens,  ad  homines  venit." — S.  de  Dupl.  Nat.  Ckr. 

"  Quia  ad  medicum  venire  non  poteramus,  ipse  ad  nos  venire  dig- 
natusest." — Serm.  88,  E.  B. 

"In  funiculis  Adam  traham  eos,  in  vinculis  charitatis."—  Osee, 
xi.  4. 


2O     Discourses  for  the  Novcna  of  Christmas. 

of  affection  (a  stronger  than  which  could  not  possibly  be 
found)  the  love  of  men  :  "  God  was  made  man,  that  God 
might  be  more  familiarly  loved  by  man."  It  seems  that 
our  Redeemer  wished  to  signify  this  very  thing  to  a  de 
vout  Franciscan  called  Father  Francis  of  St.  James,  as  is 
related  in  the  Franciscan  Diary  for  the  i5th  of  Decem 
ber.  Jesus  frequently  appeared  to  him  as  a  lovely  infant  : 
but  the  holy  friar  longing  in  his  fervor  to  hold  him  in 
his  arms,  the  sweet  child  always  fled  away  ;  wherefore 
the  servant  of  God  lovingly  complained  of  these  de 
partures.  One  day  the  divine  Child  again  appeared  to 
him  ;  but  how  ?  He  came  with  golden  chains  in  his 
hands,  to  give  him  to  understand  that  now  he  came  to 
make  him  his  prisoner,  and  to  be  himself  imprisoned  by 
him,  nevermore  to  be  separated.  Francis,  emboldened 
at  this,  fastened  the  chains  to  the  foot  of  the  Infant,  and 
bound  him  round  his  heart  ;  and,  in  good  truth,  from 
that  time  forward  it  seemed  to  him  as  if  he  saw  the  be 
loved  Child  in  the  prison  of  his  heart  made  a  perpetual 
prisoner.  That  which  Jesus  did  with  this  his  servant  on 
this  occasion,  he  really  has  done  with  all  men  when  he 
was  made  man  ;  he  wished  with  such  a  prodigy  of  love 
to  be,  as  it  were,  enchained  by  us,  and  at  the  same  time 
to  enchain  our  hearts  by  obliging  them  to  love  him,  ac 
cording  to  the  prophecy  of  Osee  :  I  will  draw  them  with 
the  cords  of  Adam,  with  the  bands  of  love? 

In  divers  ways,  says  St.  Leo,  had  God  already  bene 
fited  man  ;  but  in  no  way  has  he  more  clearly  exhibited 
the  excess  of  his  bounty  than  in  sending  him  a  Re 
deemer  to  teach  him  the  way  of  salvation,  and  to  pro 
cure  for  him  the  life  of  grace.  "The  goodness  of  God 
has  imparted  gifts  to  the  human  race  in  various  ways  ; 

1  "  Deus  homo  factus  est,  ut  familiarius  ab  homine  diligeretur." — 
Misc.  \.  i.  tit.  87. 

2  "  In    funiculis  Adam  traham    eos,   in  vinculis  charitatis." — Osee, 
xi.  4. 


The  Eternal  Word  is  made  Man.  i  \ 

out  it  surpassed  the  ordinary  bounds  of  its  abundant 
kindness  when,  in  Christ,  mercy  itself  came  down  to 
those  who  were  in  sin,  truth  to  those  wandering  out  of 
the  way,  and  life  to  those  who  were  dead."  ! 

St.  Thomas  asks  why  the  Incarnation  of  the  Word  is 
called  the  work  of  the  Holy  Ghost  :  And  was  incarnate  by 
the  Holy  Ghost?  It  is  certain  that  all  God's  works,  styled 
by  theologians  opera  ad  extra  t  or  external  works,  are  the 
works  of  all  the  three  divine  Persons.  And  why,  there 
fore,  should  the  Incarnation  be  attributed  solely  to  the 
Person  of  the  Holy  Ghost?  The  chief  reason  which  the 
Angelic  Doctor  assigns  for  it  is  because  all  the  works  of 
divine  love  are  attributed  to  the  Holy  Ghost,  who  is  the 
substantial  love  of  the  Father  and  of  the  Son  ;  and  the 
work  of  the  Incarnation  was  purely  the  effect  of  the  sur 
passing  love  which  God  bears  to  man  :  "  But  this  pro 
ceeded  from  the  very  great  love  of  God,  that  the  Son  of 
God  should  assume  flesh  to  himself  in  the  womb  of  the 
Virgin."5  And  this  the  prophet  would  signify  when  he 
says,  God  will  come  from  the  south  ^  that  is,  observes  the 
Abbot  Rupert,  "  From  the  great  charity  of  God,  he  has 
shone  upon  us."!  For  this  purpose,  again  writes  St. 
Augustine,  the  Eternal  Word  came  upon  earth,  to  make 
known  to  man  how  dearly  God  loved  him.6  And  St. 
Laurence  Justinian  :  "  In  no  instance  has  he  so  clearly 

1  "  Diversis  modis  humano    generi  Bonitas    Divina  munera  imper- 
tiit  ;  sed  abundantiam  solitae  benignitatis  excessit.  quando  in  Christo 
ipsa  ad  peccatores  Misericodia,  ad  errantes  Veriias.  ad  mortuos  Vita 
descendh." — De  Nat,  s.  4. 

2  "  Etincarnatns  est  de  Spiritu  Sancto." 

"  Hoc  autem  ex  maximo  Dei    amore  provenit,  ut  Filius  Dei  car- 
nem  sibi  assumeret  in  titero  Virginis." — P.  3,  q.   32,  a.  I. 

4  "  Deus  ab  austro  veniet." — Hab.  iii.  3. 

5  "  A  magna  charitate  Dei  in  nos  effulsit." 

6  "  Maxime  propterea  Christus  advenit,  ut  cognosceret  homo  quan 
tum  eum  diligat  Deus." — De  catech.  rud.  c.  4. 


22     Discourses  for  the  Novc-na  of  Christmas. 

manifested  his  amiable  charity  to  men  as  when  God  was 
made  man."  1 

But  what  still  more  evinces  the  depth  of  the  divine 
love  towards  the  human  race  is,  that  the  Son  of  God 
should  come  in  search  of  him,  whilst  man  was  fleeing 
away  from  him.  This  the  Apostle  declares  in  these, 
words,  Nowhere  doth  He  take  hold  of  the  angels;  but  of  the 
seed  of  Abraham  He  taketJi  hold?  On  which  St.  John 
Chrysostom  thus  comments:  "  He  says  not,  he  received, 
but  lie  seized  hold  of  ;  from  the  figure  of  those  who  are 
in  pursuit  of  fugitives,  that  they  may  effect  their  cap 
ture."3  Thus  God  came  from  heaven  to  arrest,  as  it 
were,  ungrateful  man  in  his  flight  from  him.  It  is  as  if 
he  had  said,  "O  man  !  behold,  it  is  nothing  but  the  love 
of  thee  that  has  brought  me  on  earth  to  seek  after  thee. 
Why  wilt  thou  flee  from  me?  Stay  with  me,  love  me; 
do  not  avoid  me,  for  I  greatly  love  thee." 

God  came,  then,  to  seek  lost  man  ;  and  that  man  might 
the  more  easily  comprehend  the  love  of  this  his  God  for 
him,  and  might  surrender  his  love  in  return  to  one  who 
so  deeply  loved  him,  he  willed,  the  first  time  of  his  ap 
pearance  under  a  visible  form,  to  show  himself  as  a  ten 
der  infant,  laid  upon  straw.  "O  blessed  straw,  fairer 
than  roses  or  lilies,"  exclaims  St.  Peter  Chrysologus, 
"what  favored  land  produced  you?  Oh,  what  an  en 
viable  lot  is  yours,  to  serve  as  a  bed  for  the  King  of 
Heaven!  But,  alas!"  continues  the  saint,  "alas!  you 
are  but  cold  for  Jesus  ;  for  you  know  not  how  to  warm 
him  in  that  damp  cavern,  where  he  is  now  shivering  with 

1  "  In  nullo    sic   amabilem  suam   hominibus  patefecit   charitatem, 
sicutcum  Deus  homo  factus  est." — De  Casto  Conn.  c.  23. 

2  "  Nusquam  enim  Angelos  apprehendit,  sed  semen  Abrahse  appre- 
hendit." — llcb.  ii.  16. 

3  "  Non  dixit  :  Suscepit, — sed:    Apprehendit; — ex  metaphora    in- 
sequentium  eos  qui  aversi  sunt,  ut  fugientes  apprehendere  valeant." — 
In  II eb.  horn.  5. 


The  Eternal  Word  is  made  Man.  23 

cold  ;  but  you  are  fire  and  flames  for  us,  since  you  sup 
ply  us  with  a  flame  of  love  which  rivers  of  water  shall 
never  quench." 

It  was  not  enough,  says  St.  Augustine,  for  the  divine 
love  to  have  made  us  to  his  own  image  in  creating  the 
first  man  Adam  ;  but  he  must  also  himself  be  made  to  our 
image  in  redeeming  us.2  Adam  partook  of  the  forbid 
den  fruit,  beguiled  by  the  serpent,  which  suggested  to 
Eve  that  if  she  ate  of  that  fruit  she  should  become  like 
to  God,  acquiring  the  knowledge  of  good  and  evil  ;  and 
therefore  the  Lord  then  said,  Behold,  Adam  is  become  one 
of  us*  God  said  this  ironically,  and  to  upbraid  Adam 
for  his  rash  presumption  ;  but  after  the  Incarnation  of 
the  Word  we  can  truly  say,  "  Behold,  God  is  become  like 
one  of  us."  ' 

"Look,  then,  O  man,"  exclaims  St.  Augustine,  "thy 
God  is  made  thy  brother  ;"  5  thy  God  is  made  like  thee, 
a  son  of  Adam,  as  thou  art  :  he  has  put  on  thy  selfsame 
flesh,  has  made  himself  passible,  liable  to  suffer  and  to 
die  as  thou  art.  He  could  have  assumed  tiie  nature  of 
an  angel  ;  but  no,  he  would  take  on  himself  thy  very 
flesh,  that  thus  lie  might  give  satisfaction  to  God  with 
the  very  same  flesh  (though  sinless)  of  Adam  the  sinner. 
And  he  even  gloried  in  this,  oftentimes  styling  himself 
the  Son  of  man  ;  hence  we  have  every  right  to  call  him 
our  brother. 

It  was  an  immeasurably  greater  humiliation  for  God  to 
become  man  than  if  all  the  princes  of  the  earth,  than  if 

1  "  O  felices  paleas,  rosis  et  liliis  pulchriores  !  quae  vos  genuit  tel- 
lus  ?     Non  palearum  momentaneum,  sed  perpetuum  vos  suppeditatis 
incendium,  quod  nulla  flumina  exstinguent.'' 

2  ''  In  primo  homine,  fecit  nos  Deus  ad  imaginem  suam;  in  hac  die, 
factus  est  ad  imaginem  nostram." — Serm.  119,  E.  B.  app. 

3  "  Ecce  Adam  quasi  unus  ex  nobis  factus  est." — Gtii.  iii.  22. 

4  "  De  caetero  dicemus  veraciter,  quia  Deus  factus  est  quasi  unus  ex 
nobis." — De  Eninian.   1.  T,  c.  ig. 

5  "  Deus  tuus  factus  est  f rater  tuns," 


24     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

all  the  angels  and  saints  of  heaven,  with  the  divine 
Mother  herself,  had  been  turned  into  a  blade  of  grass,  or 
into  a  handful  of  clay  ;  yes,  for  grass,  clay,  princes,  an 
gels,  saints,  are  all  creatures  ;  but  between  the  creature 
and  God  there  is  an  infinite  difference.  Ah,  exclaims 
St.  Bernard,  the  more  a  God  has  humbled  himself  for  us 
in  becoming  man,  so  much  the  more  has  he  made  his 
goodness  known  to  us  :  "  The  smaller  he  has  become  by 
humility,  the  greater  he  has  made  himself  in  bounty."  ' 
But  the  love  which  Jesus  Christ  bears  to  us,  cries  out  the 
Apostle,  irresistibly  urges  and  impels  us  to  love  him  : 
The  charity  of  Chiist  presseth  us? 

O  God  !  did  not  faith  assure  us  of  it,  who  could  ever 
believe  that  a  God,  for  love  for  such  a  worm  as  man  is, 
should  himself  become  a  worm  like  him  ?  A  devout  au 
thor  says,  Suppose,  by  chance,  that,  passing  on  your  way, 
you  should  have  crushed  to  death  a  worm  in  your  path; 
and  then  some  one,  observing  your  compassion  for  the 
poor  reptile,  should  say  to  you,  Well,  now,  if  you  would 
restore  that  dead  worm  to  life,  you  must  first  yourself 
become  a  worm  like  it,  and  then  must  shed  all  your 
blood,  and  make  a  bath  of  it  in  which  to  wash  the  worm, 
and  so  it  shall  revive;  what  would  you  reply  ?  Certainly 
you  would  say,  And  what  matters  it  to  me  whether  the 
worm  be  alive  or  dead,  if  I  should  have  to  purchase  its 
life  by  my  own  death  ?  And  much  more  would  you  say 
so  if  it  was  not  an  inoffensive  worm,  but  an  ungrateful 
asp,  which,  in  return  for  all  your  benefits,  had  made  an 
attempt  upon  your  life.  But  even  should  your  love  for. 
that  reptile  reach  so  far  as  to  induce  you  to  suffer  death 
in  order  to  restore  it  to  life,  what  would  men  say  then  ? 
And  what  would  not  that  serpent  do  for  you,  whose  death 
had  saved  it,  supposing  it  were  capable  of  reason  ?  But 

"  Quanto  minorem  se  fecit  in  humilitate,  tanto  majorem  exhibuit 
in  bonitate." — In  Epiph.  s.  i. 

"  Charitas  Christi  urget  nos." — 2  Cor.  v.  14. 


The  Eternal  Word  is  made  Man.  25 

this  much  has  Jesus  Christ  done  for  you,  most  vile 
worm;  and  you,  with  the  blackest  ingratitude,  have 
tried  oftentimes  to  take  away  his  life;  and  your  sins 
would  have  done  so,  were  Jesus  liable  to  die  any  more. 
How  much  viler  are  you  in  the  sight  of  God  than  is  a 
worm  in  your  own  sight  !  What  difference  would  it  make 
to  God  had  you  remained  dead  and  forever  reprobate  in 
your  sins,  as  you  well  deserved  ?  Nevertheless,  this  God 
had  such  a  love  for  you  that,  to  release  you  from  eternal 
death,  he  first  became  a  worm  like  you;  and  then,  to  save 
you,  would  lavish  upon  you  his  heart's  blood,  even  to  the 
last  drop,  and  endure  the  death  which  you  had  justly 
deserved. 

Yes,  all  this  is  of  faith:  And  the  Word  was  made  flesh.1 
He  hath  loved  us,  and  washed  us  from  our  sins  in  His  own, 
blood?  The  Holy  Church  declares  herself  to  be  filled 
with  terror  at  the'  idea  of  the  work  of  redemption:  I  con 
sidered  Thy  work,  and  was  afraid?  And  this  the  prophet 
said  of  old:  O  Lord,  I  have  heard  Thy  hearing,  and  was 
afraid.  .  .  .  Thou  wentest  forth  for  the  salvation  of  Thy 
people;  for  salvation  with  Thy  Christ? 

Hence  St.  Thomas  terms  the  mystery  of  the  Incarna 
tion  the  miracle  of  miracles;5  a  miracle  above  all  com 
prehension,  in  which  God  showed  how  powerful  was  his 
love  towards  men,  which  of  God  made  him  man,  of 
Creator  a  creature.6  The  Creator,  says  St.  Peter^Dami- 
an,  springs  from  the  creature,  of  Lord  it  made  him  ser 
vant,  of  impassible  subject  to  sufferings  and  to  death: 
He  hath  showed  might  in  His  arm.'1  St.  Peter  of  Alcan- 

1  "  Et  Verbum  caro  factum  est." — John,  \.  14. 

2  "  Dilexit  nos,  et  lavit  nos  .    .   .   in  sanguine  suo"—Apoc.  i.  5. 

3  "Consideravi  opera  tua,  et  expavi."— Off.  Circumc.  resp.  6. 
4"Domine,   audivi  auditionem    tuam,  et   timui.   .   .   .    Egressus   es 

in  salutem  populi  tui,  in  salutem  cum  Christo  tuo."— flab.  iii.  2.  13. 

5  "  Miraculum  miraculorum. "—/?<?  Pot.  q.  6,  a.  2,  ad  9. 

6  "  Creator  oritur  ex  creatura." — In  Nat.  B.   V.  s.  2. 

7  "  Fecit  potentiam  in  bracliio  suo." — Luke,  \.  51. 


26     Discourses  for  the  Novcna  of  Christmas. 

tara,  one  day  hearing  the  Gospel  sung  which  is  appointed 
for  the  third  Mass  on  Christmas-night — /;/  the  beginning 
was  the  Word — in  reflecting  on  this  mystery  became  so 
inflamed  with  divine  love  that,  in  a  state  of  ecstasy,  he 
was  borne  a  considerable  space  through  the  air  to  the 
foot  of  the  Blessel  Sacrament.  And  St.  Augustine  says 
that  his  soul  could  feast  forever  on  the  contemplation  of 
the  exalted  goodness  of  God,  manifested  to  us  in  the 
work  of  human  redemption.1  For  this  reason  it  was 
that  the  Lord  sent  this  saint,  on  account  of  his  fervent 
devotion  to  this  mystery,  to  inscribe  these  words  on  the 
heart  of  St.  Mary  Magdalene  of  Pazzi:  And  the  Word 
was  made  flesh. 

II. 

Whosoever  loves,  has  no  other  end  in  loving  but  to  be 
loved  again.  God,  then,  having  so  clearly  loved  us,  seeks 
nothing  else  from  us,  as  St.  Bernard  remarks,  but  our 
love:  "When  God  loves,  he  desires  nothing  else  than  to 
be  loved."  :  Wherefore,  he  goes  on  with  this  admonition 
to  each  one  of  us:  "  He  has  made  known  his  love,  that 
he  may  experience  thine."3  Oman,  whoever  thou  art, 
thou  hast  witnessed  the  love  which  God  lias  borne  thee 
in  becoming  man,  in  suffering  and  dying  for  thee;  how 
long  shall  it  be  before  God  shall  know  by  experience 
and  by  deeds  the  love  thou  bearest  him?  Ah!  truly 
every  man  at  the  sight  of  a  God  clothed  in  flesh,  and 
choosing  to  lead  a  life  of  such  durance,  and  to  suffer  a 
death  of  such  ignominy,  ought  to  be  enkindled  with  love 
towards  a  God  so  loving.  Oh  that  Thou  wouldst  rend  the 
heavens  and  wouldst  come  down :  the  mountains  would  melt 
away  at  Thy  presence,  .  .  .  the  waters  would  burn  with  fire  * 

"Non  satiabar  considerare  altitudinem  consilii  tui  super  salutem 
generis  humani." — Con/.  1.  9,  c.  6. 

"Cum  amat  Deus,  non  aliud  vult  quam  amari." — In  Cant.  s.  83. 

"  Notam  fecit  dilectionem  suam  ;  experiatur  et  tuam." — De  Aqit<cil, 

"  Utinam  dirumperes  coelos  et  descenderes!  a  facie  tua  monies 
defluerent  .  .  .  aquje  arderent  igni."— Isai.  Ixiv.  i. 


The  Eternal  Word  is  made  Man.  2  7 

Oh  that  Thou  wouldst  deign,  my  God  (thus  cried  out 
the  prophet  before  the  arrival  of  the  Divine  Word  upon 
earth),  to  leave  the  heavens,  and  descend  here  to  become 
man  amongst  us  !  Ah,  then,  on  beholding  Thee  like  one 
of  themselves,  the  mountains  would  melt  away;  men 
would  surmount  all  obstacles,  remove  all  difficulties,  in 
observing  Thy  laws  and  Thy  counsels;  the  waters  would 
burn  with  fire!  Oh,  surely  Thou  wouldst  enkindle  such 
a  furnace  in  the  human  heart  that  even  the  most  frozen 
souls  must  catch  the  flame  of  Thy  blessed  love  !  And, 
in  fact,  after  the  Incarnation  of  the  Son  of  God,  how 
brilliantly  has  the  fire  of  divine  love  shone  to  many  lov 
ing  souls  !  And  it  may  be  indeed  asserted,  without  fear 
of  contradiction,  God  was  more  beloved  in  one  century 
after  the  coming  of  Jesus  Christ  than  in  the  entire  forty 
preceding  centuries.  How  many  youths,  how  many  of 
the  nobly  born,  and  how  many  monarchs  even,  have  left 
wealth,  honors,  and  their  very  kingdoms,  to  seek  the 
desert  or  the  cloister,  that  there,  in  poverty  and  obscure 
seclusion,  they  might  the  more  unreservedly  give  them 
selves  up  to  the  love  of  this  their  Saviour!  How  many 
martyrs  have  gone  rejoicing  and  making  merry  on  their 
way  to  torments  and  to  death  !  How  many  tender  young 
virgins  have  refused  the  proffered  hands  of  the  great 
ones  of  this  world,  in  order  to  go  and  die  for  Jesus  Christ, 
and  so  repay  in  some  measure  the  affection  of  a  God 
-who  stooped  down  to  become  incarnate  and  to  die  for 
jove  of  them  ! 

Yes,  all  this  is  most  true;  but  now  comes  a  tale  for 
tears.  Has  tnis  been  the  case  with  all  men  ?  Have  all 
sought  thus  to  correspond  with  this  immense  love  of 
Jesus  Christ?  Alas,  my  God,  the  greater  part  have 
combined  to  repay  him  with  nothing  but  ingratitude! 
And  you  also,  my  brother,  tell  me,  what  sort  of  return 
have  you  made  up  to  this  time  for  the  love  your  God 
has  borne  you  ?  Have  you  always  shown  yourself  thank- 


28     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

ful  ?  Have  you  ever  seriously  reflected  what  those 
words  mean,  a  God  to  be  made  man,  and  to  die  for 
thee  ? 

A  certain  man,  while  one  day  attending  Mass  without 
devotion,  as  too  many  do,  at  these  concluding  words  of 
the  last  Gospel,  And  the  Word  was  made  flesh*  made  no 
external  act  of  reverence;  at  the  same  instant  a  devil 
struck  him  a  severe  blow,  saying,  "Thankless  wretch! 
tliou  hearest  that  a  God  was  made  man  for  thee,  and 
dost  thou  not  even  deign  to  bend  the  knee  ?  Oh,  if  God 
had  done  the  like  for  me,  I  should  be  eternally  occupied 
in  thanking  him  !" 

Tell  me,  O  Christian  !  what  more  could  Jesus  Christ 
have  done  to  win  thy  love  ?  If  the  Son  of  God  had  en 
gaged  to  rescue  from  death  his  own  Father,  what  lower 
humiliation  could  he  stoop  to  than  to  assume  human 
flesh,  and  lay  down  his  life  in  sacrifice  for  his  salvation  ? 
Nay,  I  say  more;  had  Jesus  Christ  been  a  mere  man,  instead 
of  one  of  the  divine  Persons,  and  had  wished  to  gain  by 
some  token  of  affection  the  love  of  his  God,  what  more 
could  he  have  done  than  he  has  done  for  thee?  If  a 
servant  of  thine  had  given  for  thy  love  his  very  life-blood, 
would  he  not  have  riveted  thy  heart  to  him,  and  obliged 
thee  to  love  him  in  mere  gratitude?  And  how  conies  it, 
then,  that  Jesus  Christ,  though  he  has  laid  down  his  life 
for  thee,  has  still  failed  to  win  thy  love  ? 

Alas  !  men  hold  in  contempt  the  divine  love,  because 
they  do  not,  or,  rather  let  us  say,  because  they  will  not, 
understand  what  a  treasure  it  is  to  enjoy  divine  grace, 
which,  according  to  the  Wise  Man,  is  an  infinite  treasure: 
An  infinite  treasure  to  men,  which  they  that  use  become  the 
friends  of  God?  Men  appreciate  the  good  graces  of  a 

1  "  Et  Verbum  caro  factum  est." — John,  i.  14. 

2  "  Infinitus  enim  thesaurus  est  hominibus;  quo  qui  usi  sunt,  parti- 
cipes  facti  sunt  amicitise  Dei." —  Wisd.  vii.  14. 


The  Eternal  Word  is  made  Man.  29 

prince,  of  a  prelate,  of  a  nobleman,  of  a  man  of  letters, 
and  even  of  a  vile  animal;  and  yet  these  same  persons 
set  no  store  by  the  grace  of  God, — but  renounce  it  for 
mere  smoke,  for  a  brutal  gratification,  for  a  handful  of 
earth,  for  a  whim,  for  nothing. 

What  sayest  thou,  my  dear  brother  ?  Dost  thou  wish 
still  to  be  ranked  among  these  ungrateful  ones  ?  For,  if 
thou  dost  not  wish  for  God,  says  St.  Augustine,  if  thou 
canst  meet  with  something  better  than  God:  "Desire 
something  better,  if  thou  dost  deserve  something  better." J 
Go,  find  thyself  a  prince  more  courteous,  a  master,  a 
brother,  a  friend  more  amiable,  and  who  has  shown  thee 
a  deeper  love.  Go,  seek  for  thyself  one  who  is  better 
qualified  than  God  to  make  thee  happy  in  the  present 
life  and  in  the  life  to  come. 

Whoever  loves  God  has  nothing  to  fear,  and  God  can 
not  help  loving  in  return  one  who  loves  him:  I  love  those 
who  love  me*  And  what  shall  he  be  afraid  of  who  is  the 
beloved  of  God  ?  The  Lord  is  my  light  and  my  salvation, 
whom  shall  I  fear?  3  So  said  David,  and  so  said  the  sis 
ters  of  Lazarus  to  our  Blessed  Lord:  He  whom  thoulovestis 
sick?  It  was  enough  for  them  to  know  that  Jesus  Christ 
loved  their  brother,  to  convince  them  that  he  would  do 
everything  for  his  recovery. 

But  how,  on  the  contrary,  can  God  love  those  who 
despise  his  love  ?  Come,  then,  let  us  once  for  all  make 
the  resolution  to  give  the  tribute  of  our  love  to  a  God 
who  has  so  sincerely  loved  us.  And  let  us  continually 
beseech  him  to  grant  us  the  precious  gift  of  his  holy 
love.  St.  Francis  de  Sales  says  that  this  grace  of  loving 
God  was  the  grace  for  which  we  ought  to  ask  God 

/  J  "  Aliud  desidera,  si  melius  inveneris." — In  Ps.  26  enarr.  2. 
'2  "Ego  diligentes  me  diligo." — Prov.  viii.  17. 

3  "  Dominus   illuminatio  mea  et    salus  mea;  quern   timebo?" — Ps. 
xxvi.  i. 

4  "  Quern  amas,  infirmatur."—  John,  xi.  3. 


30     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

more  than  for  any  other;  because  with  divine  love  all 
good  comes  to  a  soul:  All  good  tilings  come  together  with 
her.1  This  made  St.  Augustine  say,  "  Love,  and  do 
whatever  you  like."2  Whoever  loves  a  person  avoids 
everything  that  may  offend  him,  and  always  seeks  what 
may  give  him  most  pleasure.  Thus  is  it  with  one  who 
really  loves  God;  he  can  never  deliberately  do  anything 
to  offend  him,  but  he  studies  in  every  possible  manner 
to  please  him. 

And  in  order  the  more  quickly  and  the  more  surely  to 
obtain  this  gift  of  divine  love,  let  us  have  recourse  to 
the  foremost  of  God's  lovers — I  mean,  to  Mary  his 
Mother,  who  was  so  inflamed  with  his  holy  love  that  the 
devils,  as  St.  Bonaventure  assures  us,  had  not  the  bold 
ness  even  to  tempt  her:  "  They  were  scared  away  by  her 
burning  charity,  so  that  they  dared  not  approach  her,"  ; 
And  Richard  adds  that  even  the  seraphim  themselves 
might  descend  from  their  lofty  throne  in  heaven  to  take 
a  lesson  in  love  from  the  heart  of  Mary.4  And  because, 
continues  St.  Bonaventure,  the  heart  of  Mary  was  a  com 
plete  furnace  of  divine  love,  therefore  all  who  love  this 
Blessed  Mother,  and  address  themselves  to  her,  will  be 
inflamed  by  her  with  the  same  love;  she  will  make  them 
resemble  herself.5 

If  we  wish  to  add  to  this  discourse  some  example  about  the  Infant 
Jesus,  we  may  select  one  of  those  related  at  the  end  on  page  164. 

1  "  Venerunt  .   .   .   omnia  bona  pariter  cum  ilia." — Wisd.  vii.  n. 

2  "Ama,  et  fac  quod  vis." 

3  "A  sua  inflammatissima  charitatedsemones  pellebantur,  in  tan  turn 
quod  non  erant  ausi  illi  appropinquare." — Pro  Pest.   V.  M.  s.  4,  a.  3, 
c.  2. 

4  "Seraphim  e  ccelo  descendere   poterant,  ut  amorem   discerent  in 
corde  Virginis." 

5  '•  Quia  tota  ardens  fuit,  omnes  se  amantes  eamque  tangentes  in- 
cendit  (et  sibi  assimilat)." — De  B.    V.  M.  s.  i. 


The  Eternal  Word  is  made  Man.  3 1 


Affections  and  Prayers. 

Let  us  say  with  St.  Augustine,  "  O  fire,  ever  burning,  inflame 
me."1  O  Word  Incarnate,  Thou  wert  made  man  to  enkindle 
divine  love  in  our  hearts:  and  howcouldst  Thou  have  met  with 
such  a  want  of  gratitude  in  the  hearts  of  men?  Thou  hast 
spared  nothing  to  induce  them  to  love  Thee  ;  Thou  hast  even 
gone  so  far  as  to  give  Thy  blood  and  Thy  life  for  them  :  and 
how,  then,  can  men  still  remain  so  ungrateful?  Do  they,  per 
chance,  not  know  it  ?  Yes,  they  know  it,  and  they  believe  that 
for  them  Thou  hast  come  down  from  heaven  to  put  on  mortal 
flesh,  and  to  load  Thyself  with  our  miseries;  they  know  that 
for  their  love  Thou  hast  led  a  painful  life,  and  embraced  an 
ignominious  death;  and  how,  then,  can  they  live  forgetful  of 
Thee?  They  love  relatives,  friends;  they  love  even  animals: 
if  from  them  they  receive  any  token  of  good -will,  they  are  anx 
ious  to  repay  it;  and  yet  towards  Thee  alone  are  they  so  loveless 
and  ungrateful.  But,  alas  !  in  accusing  them,  I  am  my  own  ac 
cuser  :  I  who  have  treated  Thee  worse  than  any  one  else.  But 
Thy  goodness  encourages  me,  which  I  feel  has  borne  with  me  so 
long,  in  order  at  length  to  pardon  me,  and  to  inflame  me  with 
Thy  love,  provided  I  will  but  repent  and  love  Thee.  Indeed, 
my  God,  I  do  wish  to  repent ;  and  I  grieve  with  my  whole  soul 
for  having  offended  Thee  ;  I  wish  to  love  Thee  with  my  whole 
heart.  I  am  well  aware,  my  Redeemer,  that  my  heart  is  no 
longer  worthy  of  Thy  acceptance,  since  it  has  forsaken  Thee  for 
the  love  of  creatures ;  but,  at  the  same  time,  I  see  that  Thou  art 
willing  to  have  it,  and  with  my  entire  will  I  dedicate  it  and  pre 
sent  it  to  Thee.  Inflame  it,  then,  wholly  with  Thy  divine  love, 
and  grant  that  from  this  day  forward  it  may  never  love  any 
other  but  Thee,  O  infinite  Goodness  !  worthy  of  an  infinite  love. 
I  love  Thee,  my  Jesus;  I  love  Thee,  O  sovereign  Good  !  I  love 
Thee,  O  only  Love  of  my  soul  ! 

0  Mary  my  Mother,  thou  who  art  the  mother  of  fair  love,2 
do  thou  obtain  for  me  this  grace  to  love  my  God ;  I  hope  it  of 
thee. 

1  "O  Ignis  qui  semper  ardes!   accende  me." — Solil.  an.  ad D.  c.  34. 

2  "  Mater  pulchrse  dilectionis." — Ecclus.  xxiv.  24. 


32     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 


DISCOURSE  II. 
The  Eternal  Word  being  Great  becomes  Little. 

Pari'ulus  natus  cst  nobis^  et  Filius  datus  est  nobis. 
"  A  child  is  born  to  us,  and  a  son  is  given  to  us." — Is.  ix.  6. 

Plato  said  that  Love  is  the  loadstone  of  love.1  Hence 
comes  the  common  proverb,  as  St.  John  Chrysostom  re 
marks:  "  If  you  wish  to  be  loved,  love," 'J  for  certainly 
there  is  no  more  effectual  means  to  secure  for  one's  self 
the  affections  of  another  than  to  love  him,  and  to  make 
him  aware  that  he  is  loved. 

But,  my  Jesus,  this  rule,  this  proverb,  holds  good  for 
others,  holds  good  forall,  but  not  for  Thee.  Men  are  grate 
ful  to  all,  but  not  to  Thee.  Thou  art  at  a  loss  what  further 
to  do,  to  show  men  the  love  Thou  bearest  them;  Thou 
hast  positively  nothing  more  to  do,  to  allure  the  affec 
tions  of  men  ;  yet,  in  point  of  fact,  how  many  are  there 
among  mankind  who  love  Thee  ?  Alas  !  the  greatest 
number,  we  may  say,  nearly  all,  not  only  do  not  love 
Thee,  but  they  offend  Thee  and  despise  Thee. 

And  shall  we  stand  in  the  ranks  of  these  heartless 
wretches?  God  has  not  earned  this  at  our  hands  ;  that 
God,  so  good,  so  tender  of  us,  who,  being  great,  and  of 
infinite  greatness,  has  thought  fit  to  make  himself  little 
in  order  to  be  loved  by  us.  Let  us  seek  light  from  Jesus 
and  Mary. 

I. 

To  compass  the  idea  of  the  immense  love  of  God  to 
men  in  becoming  himself  a  man  and  a  feeble  child  for  our 
love  it  would  be  necessary  to  comprehend  his  greatness, 
But  what  mind  of  man  or  angel  can  conceive  the  great 
ness  of  God,  which  is  indeed  infinite  ? 

1  "  Magnes  amoris,  amor." 

2  "Si  vis  amari,  ama."—Adpop.  Ant.  horn.  13. 


The  Eternal  Word  becomes  Little.          33 

St.  Ambrose  says  that  to  say  God  is  greater  than  the 
heavens,  than  all  kings,  all  saints,  all  angels,  is  to  do  an 
injury  to  God;  just  as  it  would  be  an  injury  to  a  prince 
to  say  that  he  was  greater  than  a  blade  of  grass,  or  a 
small  fly.  God  is  greatness  itself,  and  all  greatness  to 
gether  is  but  the  smallest  atom  of  the  greatness  of  God. 
David,  contemplating  the  divine  greatness,  and  seeing 
that  he  could  not  and  never  would  be  able  to  compre 
hend  it,  could  only  say,  O  Lord,  who  is  like  to  Thee  ^  O 
Lord,  what  greatness  shall  ever  be  found  like  to  Thine? 
And  how  in  truth  should  David  ever  be  able  to  compre 
hend  it,  since  his  understanding  was  but  finite,  and  God's 
greatness  infinite?  Great  is  the  Lord,  and  greatly  to  be 
praised;  and  of  His  greatness  there  is  no  end?  Do  I  not  fill 
heaven  ami  earth,  saith  the  Lord?  Thus  all  of  us,  according 
to  our  mode  of  understanding,  are  nothing  but  so  many 
miserable  little  fishes,  living  in  this  immense  ocean  of 
the  essence  of  God:  In  Him  we  live,  move,  and  be? 

What  are  we,  then,  in  respect  to  God  ?  And  what  are 
all  men,  all  monarchs  of  earth,  and  even  all  saints  and 
all  angels  of  heaven,  confronted  with  the  infinite  great 
ness  of  God  ?  We  are  all  like  or  even  smaller  than  a 
grain  of  sand  in  comparison  with  the  rest  of  the  earth: 
Behold,  says  the  prophet  Isaias,  the  Gentiles  are  as  a  drop 
of  a  bucket,  and  are  counted  as  the  smallest  grain  of  a  balance; 
behold,  the  islands  are  as  little  dust.  .  .  .  All  nations  are  be 
fore  Him  as  if  they  had  no  being  at  all* 

Now  this  God,  so  great,  has  become  a  little  infant;  and 


1  "Domine.  quis  similis  tibi  ?"— Ps.  xxxiv.  10. 

2  "  Magnus  Dominus,  et  laudabilis  nimis;   et  magnitudinis  ejus  non 
est  finis." — Ps.  cxliv.  3. 

3  "  Numquid  non  coelum  et  terram  ego  impleo  T—Jer.  xxiii.  24. 

4  "  In  ipso  enim  vivimus,  et  movemur,  et  sumus." — Acts,  xvii.  28. 

5  "  Ecce   gentes   quasi  stilla  situlse,   et   quasi   momentum   staterse, 
reputatae   sunt;  ecce   insulse  quasi   pulvis   exiguus.      Omnes  gentes, 
quasi  non  sint,  sic  sunt  coram  eo." — Isa.  xl.  15-17. 

3 


34     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christinas. 

for  whom  ?  A  child  is  born  to  us:1  for  us  he  is  born. 
And  wherefore?  St.  Ambrose  gives  us  the  answer:  "He 
is  a  little  one,  that  you  might  be  a  perfect  man;  he  is 
bound  in  swaddling-clothes,  that  you  might  be  unbound 
from  the  fetters  of  death;  he  is  on  earth,  that  you  might 
be  in  heaven."  2 

Behold,  then,  the  Immensity  become  an  infant,  whom 
the  heavens  cannot  contain:  see  him  imprisoned  in  poor 
rags,  and  laid  in  a  narrow  vile  manger  on  a  bundle  of 
straw,  which  was  at  once  his  only  bed  and  pillow.  "  See," 
says  St.  Bernard — "see  power  is  ruled,  wisdom  instructed, 
virtue  sustained.  God  taking  milk  and  weeping,  but 
comforting  the  afflicted!"3  A  God  Almighty  so  tightly 
wrapped  in  swathing-bands  that  he  cannot  stir  !  A  God 
who  knows  all  things,  made  mute  and  speechless  !  A 
God  who  rules  heaven  and  earth  needing  to  be  carried 
in  the  arms  !  A  God  who  feeds  all  men  and  animals, 
himself  having  need  of  a  little  milk  to  support  him  !  A 
God  who  consoles  the  afflicted,  and  is  the  joy  of  para 
dise,  himself  weeps  and  moans  and  has  to  be  comforted 
by  another  ! 

In  fine,  St.  Paul  says  that  the  Son  of  God,  coming 
on  earth,  emptied  Himself  .*  He  annihilated  himself,  so  to 
say.  And  why  ?  To  save  man  and  to  be  loved  by  man. 
'•'Where  Thou  didst  empty  Thyself,"  says  St.  Bernard, 
"  there  did  mercy,  there  did  charity,  more  brilliantly  ap 
pear."  '  Yes,  my  dear  Redeemer,  in  proportion  as  Thy 

"  Parvulus  natus  est  nobis." 

"  Ille  parvulus,  ut  vir  possis  esse  perfectus;  ille  involutus  pannis. 
ut  tu  mortis  laqueis  absolutus  sis;  ille  in  terris,  ut  tu  in  coelis. "—/;/. 
Lite.  2. 

"Videas  potentiam  regi,  sapientiam  instrui,  virtutem  sustentari; 
Deum  lactentem  et  vagientem,  sed  miseros  consolantem." — De 
Laud.  V.  M.  horn.  2. 

"  Semetipsum  exinanivit." — Phil.  ii.  7. 

"  Ubi  te  exinanivisti,  ibi  pietas  magis  emicuit,  ibi  charitas  plus 
effulsit." — In  Cant.  s.  45. 


The  Eternal  Word  becomes  Little.         35 

abasement  was  great  in  becoming  man  and  in  being  born 
an  infant,  so  were  Thy  mercy  and  love  shown  to  be 
greater  towards  us,  and  this  with  a  view  to  win  over  our 
hearts  to  Thyself. 

The  Jews,  although  by  so  many  signs  and  wonders 
they  had  a  certain  knowledge  of  the  true  God,  were  not, 
however,  satisfied;  they  wished  to  behold  him  face  to 
face.  God  found  means  to  comply  even  with  this  desire 
of  men;  he  became  man,  to  make  himself  visible  to  them. 
"  Knowing,"  says  St.  Peter  Chrysologus,  "  that  mortals 
felt  an  anguish  of  desire  to  see  him,  God  chose  this 
method  of  making  himself  visible  to  them."1  And  to 
render  himself  still  more  attractive  in  our  eyes,  he  would 
make  his  first  appearance  as  a  little  child,  that  in  this 
guise  he  might  be  the  more  charming  and  irresistible;  he 
showed  himself  an  infant,  that  he  might  make  himself 
the  more  acceptable  in  our  eyes,  says  the  same  St. 
Chrysologus.2  "  Yes,"  adds  St.  Cyril  of  Alexandria,  "he 
abased  himself  to  the  humble  condition  of  a  little  child 
in  order  to  make  himself  more  agreeable  to  our  hearts." 
''For  our  advantage  was  this  emptying  made."3  For 
this  indeed  was  the  form  most  suitable  to  win  our  love. 

The  prophet  Ezechiel  rightly  exclaimed  that  the  time 
of  Thy  coming  on  earth,  O  Incarnate  Word,  should  be 
a  time  of  love,  the  season  of  lovers:  Behold,  Thy  time 
was  the  time  of  lovers*  And  what  object  had  God  in  lov 
ing  us  thus  ardently,  and  in  giving  us  so  clear  proofs  of 
his  love,  other  than  that  we  might  love  him?  "God 
loves  only  in  order  to  be  loved,"  5  says  St.  Bernard.  God 
himself  had  already  said  as  much:  And  now,  O  Israel,  what 

1  "  Sciens    Deus    visendi   se  desiderio  cruciari    mortales,  unde  se 
visibilem  faceret,  hoc  elegit." — Serm.  147. 

2  "  Se  parvulum  exhibuit,  ut  seipsum  faceret  gratum." 

3  "  Exinanitio  facta  ad  usum  nostrum." 

4  "  Ecce  tempus  tuum,  tempus  amantium." — Ezech.  xvi.  8. 

5  "  Non  ad  aliud  amat  Deus,  nisi  utametur." — In  Cant.  s.  83. 


36     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

does  the  Lord  thy  God  require  of  thee,  but  that  thou  fear  and 
love  Him  ? 1 

In  order  to  force  us  to  love  him  God  would  not  com 
mission  others,  but  chose  to  come  himself  in  person  to 
be  made  man  and  to  redeem  us.  St.  John  Chrysostom 
makes  a  beautiful  reflection  on  these  words  of  the 
apostle:  For  nowhere  doth  He  take  hold  of  the  angels,  but 
of  the  seed  of  Abraham  He  taketh  hold. 2  Why,  asks  the 
saint,  did  he  not  say  received,  but  rather  apprehended?* 
Why  did  not  St.  Paul  simply  say  that  God  assumed  hu 
man  flesh  ?  Why  would  he  affirm  with  marked  emphasis 
that  he  took  it,  as  it  were,  by  force,  according  to  the  strict 
meaning  of  the  word  apprehend?  He  answers  that  he 
spoke  thus,  making  use  of  the  metaphor  of  those  who 
give  chase  to  the  flying.4  By  this  he  would  convey  the 
idea  that  God  already  longed  to  be  loved  by  man,  but 
man  turned  his  back  upon  him,  and  cared  not  even  to 
know  of  his  love;  therefore  God  came  from  heaven,  and 
took  human  flesh,  to  make  himself  known  in  this  way, 
and  to  make  himself  loved,  as  it  were,  by  force  by  ungrate 
ful  man,  who  fled  from  him. 

For  this,  then,  did  the  Eternal  Word  become  man;  for 
this  he,  moreover,  became  an  infant.  He  could,  indeed, 
have  appeared  upon  this  earth  a  full-grown  man,  as  the 
first  man  Adam  appeared.  No,  the  Son  of  God  wished 
to  present  himself  under  the  form  of  a  sweet  little  child, 
that  thus  he  might  the  more  readily  and  the  more  forci 
bly  draw  to  himself  the  love  of  man.  Little  children  of 
themselves  are  loved  at  once,  and  to  see  them  and  to 
love  them  is  the  same  thing.  With  this  view,  says  St. 

1  "  Et   nunc,  Israel !  quid  Dominus  Deus  tuus  petit  a  te,  nisi  ut 
timeas  .  .  .  et  diligas  eum  ?" — Deut.  x.  12. 

2  "  Nusquam  enim  Angelos  apprehendit,  sed  semen  Abrahse  appre- 
hendit." — Heb.  ii.  16. 

3  "  Quare  non  dixit:  Suscepit;— sed:  Apprehendit?" 

4  "  Ex  metaphora  insequentium  eos  qui  aversi  sunt." 


The  Eternal  Word  becomes  Little.         37 

Francis  de  Sales,  the  Eternal  Word  chose  first  to  be 
seen  among  men  as  an  infant,  to  conciliate  to  himself  the 
love  of  all  mankind. 

St.  Peter  Chrysologus  writes:  "How  should  our  Lord 
come,  who  wishes  to  drive  away  fear,  to  seek  love?  What 
breast  so  savage  as  not  to  soften  before  such  a  child 
hood  ?  what  hardness  which  it  will  not  subdue,  what  love 
does  it  not  claim  ?  Thus,  therefore,  he  would  be  born 
who  willed  to  be  loved  and  not  feared."  The  saint 
would  say  that  if  our  Redeemer  had  come  to  be  feared 
and  respected  by  men,  he  would  have  come  as  a  full- 
grown  man  and  with  royal  dignity;  but  because  he  came 
to  gain  our  love,  he  chose  to  come  and  to  show  himself 
as  an  infant,  and  the  poorest  of  infants,  born  in  a  cold 
stable  between  two  animals,  laid  in  a  manger  on  straw, 
without  clothingor  fire  to  warm  his  shivering  little  limbs: 
"  thus  would  he  be  born,  who  willed  to  be  loved  and  not 
feared."2  Ah,  my  Lord  !  who  was  it  that  drew  Thee 
from  heaven  to  be  born  in  a  stable  ?  It  was  love,  the  love 
Thou  bearest  toward  men.  Who  took  Thee  from  the 
right  hand  of  Thy  Father,  where  Thou  sittest,  and 
placed  Thee  in  a  manger?  Who  snatched  Thee  from 
Thy  throne  above  the  stars,  and  put  Thee  to  lie  on  a 
little  straw  ?  Who  changed  Thy  position  from  the 
midst  of  angels,  to  be  placed  betwixt  a  pair  of  beasts  ? 
It  was  all  the  work  of  love;  Thou  inflamest  the  seraphim, 
and  dost  Thou  not  shiver  with  cold  ?  Thou  supportest 
the  heavens,  and  must  Thou  be  now  carried  in  the  arms  ? 
Thou  provides!  food  for  men  and  beasts,  and  now  dost 
Thou  crave  a  little  milk  to  sustain  Thy  life  ?  Thou  makest 
the  seraphim  happy,  and  now  dost  Thou  weep  and  moan  ? 

1  "  Et  qualiter  venire  debuit,    qui  voluit  timorem   pellere,  quserere 
charitatem  ?      Infantia    haec,    quam    barbariem    non    vincit?    quam 
duritiem  non  resolvit  ?    Quid  non  amoris  expostulat?     Sic  ergo  nasci 
voluit,  qui  amari  voluit,  non  timer!." — Sertn.  158. 

2  "  Sic  nasci  voluit,  qui  amari  voluit,  non  timed." 


38     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

Who  has  reduced  Thee  to  such  misery  ?  Love  has  done 
it:  "Thus  would  he  be  born  who  willed  to  be  loved  and 
not  feared." 

Love  then,  love,  O  souls,  exclaims  St.  Bernard,  love 
now  this  little  Child,  for  he  is  exceedingly  to  be  loved 
"  Great  is  the  Lord,  and  exceedingly  to  be  praised.  The 
Lord  is  a  little  one,  and  exceedingly  to  be  loved."1  Yes, 
says  the  saint,  this  God  was  already  existing  from  eter 
nity,  as  he  is  now  worthy  of  all  praise  and  reverence  for 
his  greatness,  as  David  has  sung:  Great  is  the  Lord  and 
exceedingly  to  be  praised.''  But  now  that  we  behold  him 
become  a  little  infant,  needing  milk,  and  unable  to  stir 
himself,  trembling  with  cold,  moaning  and  weeping, 
looking  for  some  one  to  take  and  warm  and  comfort 
him;  ah,  now  indeed  does  he  become  the  most  cherished 
one  of  our  hearts!  "The  Lord  is  a  little  one,  and  ex 
ceedingly  to  be  loved  !" 

We  ought  to  adore  him  as  our  God,  but  our  love  ought 
to  keep  pace  with  our  reverence  towards  a  God  so  ami 
able,  so  loving. 

St.  Bonaventure  reminds  us  that  "a  child  finds  its  de 
light  with  other  children,  with  flowers,  and  to  be  in  the 
arms."5  The  saint's  meaning  is,  that  if  we  would  please 
this  divine  Infant,  we  too  must  become  children,  simple 
and  humble;  we  must  carry  to  him  flowers  of  virtue,  of 
meekness,  of  mortification,  of  charity;  we  must  clasp  him 
in  the  arms  of  our  love. 

And,  O  man,  adds  St.  Bernard,  what  more  do  you  wait 
to  see  before  you  will  give  yourself  wholly  to  God?  See 
with  what  labor,  with  what  ardent  love,  your  Jesus  has 

"Magnus    Dominus,    et    laudabilis    nimis;    parvus    Dominus,   et 
amabilis  nimis." — In  Cant.  s.  48. 

'2  ''Magnus  Dominus,  et  laudabilis  nimis." — Ps.  cxliv.  3. 

"  Puer  cum  pueris,  cum  floribus,  cum  brachiis  libenter  esse  solet." 
— Dom.  infra  act.  Nat.  s.  4. 


The  Eternal  Word  becomes  Little.          39 

come  down  from  heaven  to  seek  you.1  Hearken,  he  goes 
on  to  say,  how,  scarcely  yet  born,  his  wailings  call  to 
you,  as  if  he  would  say,  O  soul  of  mine,  it  is  thee  I  am 
seeking;  for  thee,  and  to  obtain  thy  love,  I  am  come 
from  heaven  to  earth.  "Having  scarcely  quitted  the 
Virgin's  womb,  lie  calls  thy  beloved  soul  after  the  manner 
of  infants,  Ah,  ah,  my  soul,  my  soul  !  I  am  seeking  you; 
for  you  am  I  making  this  pilgrimage."  : 

O  God,  even  the  very  brutes,  if  we  do  them  a  kind 
ness,  if  we  give  them  some  trifle,  are  so  grateful  for  it; 
they  come  near  us,  they  do  our  bidding  after  their  own 
fashion,  and  they  show  symptoms  of  gladness  at  our  ap 
proach.  And  how  comes  it,  then,  that  we  are  so  un 
grateful  towards  God,  the  same  God  who  has  bestowed 
his  whole  self  upon  us,  who  has  descended  from  heaven 
to  earth,  lias  become  an  infant  to  save  us  and  to  be  loved 
by  us  ?  Come,  then,  let  us  love  the  Babe  of  Bethlehem,  is 
the  enraptured  cry  of  St.  Francis;  let  us  love  Jesus  Christ, 
who  has  sought  in  the  midst  of  such  sufferings  to  attach 
our  hearts  to  him. 


H. 

And  for  love  of  Jesus  Christ,  we  ought  to  love  our 
neighbors,  even  those  who  have  offended  us.  The  Mes- 
sias  is  called  by  Isaias,  Father  of  the  world  to  come? 
now,  in  order  to  be  the  sons  of  this  Father,  Jesus  ad 
monishes  us  that  we  must  love  our  enemies,  and  do  good 
to  those  who  injure  us:  Love  your  enemies,  do  good  to  them 
that  hate  you-)  .  .  .  that  you  may  be  the  children  of  your  Father 

1  "  Oh  !  quanto   labore    et   quam  ferventi  amore  quaesivit  animam 
tuam  amorosus  Jesus  !" 

2  "  Virginis    uterum  vix   egressus,  dilectam    animam    tuam    more 
infantium  vocat:  A,  a,  anima  mea,  anima  mea  !  te  quaere,  pro  te  hanc 
peregrinationem  assumo." — 7'.  //.  s.  51,  a.  2,  c.  2. 

3  "  Pater  futuri  sasculi." — Isa.  ix.  6. 


40     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

who  is  in  heaven}  And  of  this  he  himself  set  us  the  ex 
ample  on  the  cross,  praying  his  Eternal  Father  to  forgive 
those  who  were  crucifying  him. 

"  He  who  pardons  his  enemy,"  says  St.  John  Chrysos- 
tom,  "  cannot  but  obtain  God's  pardon  for  himself;"5 
and  we  have  the  divine  assurance  of  it:  Forgive,  and  you 
shall  be  forgiven*  There  was  a  certain  religious,  who 
otherwise  had  not  led  a  very  exemplary  life,  at  the  hour 
of  death  bewailed  his  sins,  not  without  great  confidence 
and  joy.  because,  said  he,  "I  have  never  avenged  an  in 
jury  done  me;"4  as  much  as  to  say:  It  is  true  that  I 
have  offended  the  Lord,  but  he  has  engaged  to  pardon 
him  who  pardons  his  enemies;  I  have  pardoned  all  who 
offended  me,  so  then  I  am  confident  God  will  likewise 
pardon  me. 

But  to  speak  with  reference  to  all  persons  in  general; 
how  can  we,  sinners  as  we  are,  despair  of  pardon,  when 
we  think  of  Jesus  Christ  ?  For  this  very  object  the  Eter 
nal  Word  humbled  himself  so  far  as  to  take  human  flesh, 
that  we  might  procure  our  pardon  from  God:  I  am  come, 
not  to  call  the  just,  but  sinners."  Hence  we  may  address 
him  in  the  words  of  St.  Bernard:  "  Where  Thou  didst 
empty  Thyself,  there  Thy  mercy,  there  Thy  charity,  shone 
forth  the  more."8  And  St.  Thomas  of  Villanova  gives 
us  excellent  encouragement,  saying:  ''What  art  thou 
afraid  of,  O  poor  sinner  ?  How  shall  He  condemn  thee, 
if  thou  be  penitent,  who  died  expressly  that  thou  mightest 
not  be  condemned?  How  shall  he  reject  thee,  if  thou 

1  "  Diligite  inimicos  vestros,  benefacite  his  qui  oderunt  vos,  .  .  . 
ut  sitis  filii  Patris  vestri." — Matt.  v.  44. 

'2  "  Non  est  possibile  quod  homo  qui  dimiserit  proximo,  non 
recipiat  remissionem  a  Domino." — In  Act.  horn.  36. 

3  "  Dimittite,  et  dimittemini." — Luke,  vi.  37. 

4  "Nunquam  injurias  vindicavi." 

5  "Non  enim  veni  vocare  justos,  sed  peccatores." — Matt.  ix.  13. 

6  "  Ubi  te  exinanivisti,  ibi  pietas  magis  emicuit,  ibi  charitas  plus 
effulsit." 


The  Eternal  Word  becomes  Little.         41 

desirest  to   retain  him  who  came  down  from  heaven  to 
seek  thee?"  1 

Let  not,  then,  the  sinner  be  afraid,  provided  he  will  be 
no  more  a  sinner,  but  will  love  Jesus  Christ ;  let  him  not 
be  dismayed,  but  have  a  full  trust ;  if  he  abhor  sin,  and 
seek  after  God,  let  him  not  be  sad,  but  full  of  joy  :  Let 
the  heart  of  them  rejoice  that  seek  the  Lord?  The  Lord  has 
sworn  to  forget  all  injuries  done  to  him,  if  the  sinner  is 
sorry  for  them  :  If  the  wicked  do  penance  .  .  .  /  will  not  re 
member  all  his  iniquities?  And  that  we  might  have  every 
motive  for  confidence,  our  Saviour  became  an  infant  : 
"Who  is  afraid  to  approach  a  child?"4  asks  the  same 
St.  Thomas  of  Villanova. 

"  Children  do  not  inspire  terror  or  aversion,  but  at 
tachment  and  love,"5  says  St.  Peter  Chrysologus.  It 
seems  that  children  know  not  how  to  be  angry  ;  and  if 
perchance  at  odd  times  they  should  be  irritated,  they  are 
easily  soothed  ;  one  has  only  to  give  them  a  fruit,  a 
flower,  or  bestow  on  them  a  caress,  or  utter  a  kind  word 
to  them,  and  they  have  already  forgiven  and  forgotten 
every  offence. 

A  tear  of  repentance,  one  act  of  heart-felt  contrition,  is 
enough  to  appease  the  Infant  Jesus.  "You  know  the 
tempers  of  children,"  pursues  St.  Thomas  of  Villanova  ; 
"  a  single  tear  pacifies  them,  the  offence  is  forgotten. 
Approach,  then,  to  Him  while  he  is  a  little  one,  while  he 
would  seem  to  have  forgotten  his  majesty."  He  has 

1  "  Quid  times,  peccator  ?    Quomodo  te  damnabit  poenitentem,  qui 
moritur  ne  damneris  ?     Quomodo  te  abjiciet  redeuntem,  qui  de  coelo 
venit  quserere  te  ?" — Tr.  de  Adv.  D. 

2  "  Lffitetur  cor  quserentium  Dominum." — Ps.  civ.  3. 

3  "  Si    autem    impius   egerit    poenitentiam  .    .    .   omnium    iniqui- 
tatum  ejus  .  .  .  non  recordabor." — Ezech.  xviii.  21. 

4  "  Ad  parvulum  accedere  quis  formidet  ?  " — In  Nat.  D.  cone.  4. 

5  "  Puer  nescit  irasci,  et,  si  irascitur,  facile  placatur." 

6  "  Parvulorum  mores  agnoscitis  ;  una  lacrymula  placatur  offensus, 
injuriam  non  recordatur.     Accedite  ergo  ad  eum,  dum  parvulus  est, 
dum  majestatis  videtur  oblitus." 


42     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

put  off  his  divine  majesty,  and  appears  as  a  child  to  in 
spire  us  with  more  courage  to  approach  his  feet. 

"  He  is  born  an   Infant,"  says  St.  Bonaventure,  "that 

neither  his  justice  nor  his  power  might  intimidate'you." ' 

In  order  to  exempt  us  from  every  feeling  of  distrust, 

which   the  idea  of  his  power  and  of  his  justice   might 

cause  in  us,  he  comes  before  us  as  a  little  babe,  full  of 

sweetness  and  mercy.     «O  God  !"  says  Gerson,  «  Thou 

hast  hidden   Thy  wisdom  under  a  childish  age,  that    it 

might  not  accuse  us." 3     O  God  of  mercy,  lest  Thy  divine 

wisdom    might   reproach    us   with    our  offences   against 

Thee,  Thou  hast  hidden  it  under  an  infant's  form  :  "Thy 

justice  under  humility,  lest  it  should  condemn."  3'   Thou 

hast  concealed    Thy  justice   under    the   most    profound 

abasement,  that  it  might   not  condemn  us:   Thy  power 

under  weakness,  lest  it  should   torment."4     Thou  hast 

disguised  Thy  power  in   feebleness,   that  it  might  not 

visit  us  with  chastisement. 

^St.  Bernard  makes  this  reflection:  "Adam,  after  his 
sin,  on  hearing  the  voice  of  God,  Adam,  where  art  thou .?"  5 
was  filled  with  dismay:  I  heard  Thy  voice,  and  was  afraid,6 
But,  continues  the  saint,  now,  the  Incarnate  Word  being 
made  man  upon  earth,  has  laid  aside  all  semblance  of 
terror  :7  «  Do  not  fear;  he  seeks  thee,  not  to  punish,  but 
to  save  thee.8  Behold,  he  is  a  child,  and  voiceless  ;  for 
the  voice  of  a  child  will  excite  compassion  rather  than 
fear.  The  Virgin  Mother  wraps  his  delicate  limbs  in 
swaddling-clothes  :  and  art  thou  still  in  alarm  ?"  9  That 
*|  Nascitur  parvulus,  ut  non  formides  potentiam,  non  justitiam." 

Celasti,  Deus,  sapientiam  in  infantuli  atate,  ne  accuset." 
"Justitiam  in  humilitate,  ne  condemned" 
"  Potentiam  in  infirmitate,  ne  cruciet." 
"Adam  .  .  .  .  ubi  es  ?" 

^  Vocem  tuam  audivi  .  .  .  et  timui."—  Gen.  iii.  9. 
"Homo  natus,  terrorem  deposuit." 

"Noli  timere;  non  puniendum,  sed  salvandum  requirit  " 
'Ecce  infans  est,  et  sine  voce  ;  nam  vagientis  vox  magis  mise- 
randa  est,   quam   tremenda.     Tenera   membra  Virgo   Mater  pannis 
alhgat,  et  adhuc  trepidas  ?"— In  Nat  D   s    i 


The  Eternal  Word  becomes  Little.          43 

God,  who  should  punish  thee,  is  born  an  infant,  and  has 
lost  all  accents  to  affright  thee,  since  the  accents  of  a 
child,  being  cries  of  weeping,  move  us  sooner  to  pity 
than  to  fear  ;  thou  canst  not  apprehend  that  Jesus  Christ 
will  stretch  out  his  hands  to  chastise  thee,  since  his 
Mother  is  occupied  in  swathing  them  in  linen  bands. 

"  Be  of  good  cheer,  then,  O  sinners,"  says  St.  Leo, 
"the  birthday  of  the  Lord  is  the  birthday  of  peace  and 
joy."1  "  The  Prince  of  Peace"2  was  he  called  by  Isaias. 
Jesus  Christ  is  a  Prince,  not  of  vengeance  on  sinners, 
but  of  mercy  and  of  peace,  constituting  himself  the 
mediator  betwixt  God  and  sinners.  "  If  our  sins,"  says 
St.  Augustine,  "are  too  much  for  us,  God  does  not 
despise  his  blood."3  If  we  cannot  ourselves  make  due 
atonement  to  the  justice  of  God,  at  least  the  Eternal 
Father  knows  not  how  to  disregard  the  blood  of  Jesus 
Christ,  who  makes  payment  for  us. 

A  certain  knight,  called  Don  Alphonsus  Albuquerque, 
making  once  a  sea  voyage,  and  the  vessel  being  driven 
among  the  rocks  by  a  violent  tempest,  already  gave  him 
self  up  for  lost  ;  but  at  that  moment  espying  near  him 
a  little  child,  crying  bitterly,  what  did  he  do  ?  He  seized 
him  in  his  arms,  and  so  lifting  him  towards  heaven,  "O 
Lord,"  said  he,"  though  I  myself  be  unworthy  to  be 
heard,  give  ear  at  least  to  the  cries  of  this  innocent 
child,  and  save  us."  At  the  same  instant  the  storm 
abated,  and  he  remained  in  safety.  Let  us  miserable 
sinners  do  in  like  manner.  We  have  offended  God  ; 
already  has  sentence  of  everlasting  death  been  passed 
upon  us;  divine  justice  requires  satisfaction,  and  with 
right.  What  have  we  to  do?  To  despair?  God  for 
bid  !  let  us  offer  up  to  God  this  Infant,  who  is  his  own 

1  "  Natalis  Domini,  natalis  est  pacis." — In  Nat.  D.  s.  6. 

2  "  Princeps  pacis." — Isa.  ix.  6. 

3  "Si  peccata  nostra  superant  nos,  pretium  suum  non  contemnit 
Deus."—  Serm.  22,  Ed.  B. 


44     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

Son,  and  let  us  address  him  with  confidence  :  O  Lord, 
if  we  cannot  of  ourselves  render  Thee  satisfaction  for 
our  offences  against  Thee,  behold  this  Child,  who  weeps 
and  moans,  who  is  benumbed  with  cold  on  his  bed  of 
straw  in  this  cavern;  he  is  here  to  make  atonement  for 
us,  and  he  pleads  for  Thy  mercy  on  us.  Be  it  that  we 
are  undeserving  of  pardon,  the  tears  and  sufferings  of 
this  Thy  guiltless  Son  merit  it  for  us,  and  he  entreats 
Thee  to  pardon  us. 

This  is  what  St.  Anselm  advises  us  to  do  ;  he  says 
that  Jesus  Christ  himself,  from  his  earnest  desire  not  to 
have  us  perish,  animates  each  one  of  us  who  finds  him 
self  guilty  before  God  with  these  words  :  O  sinner,  do 
not  lose  heart ;  if  by  thy  sins  thou  hast  unhappily  become 
the  slave  of  hell,  and  hast  not  the  means  to  free  thyself, 
act  thus  :  take  me,  offer  me  for  thyself  to  the  Eternal 
Father,  and  so  thou  shalt  escape  death,  thou  shalt  be  in 
safety.  "  What  can  be  conceived  more  full  of  mercy 
than  what  the  Son  says  to  us  :  Take  me,  and  redeem 
thyself."  This  was,  moreover,  exactly  what  the  divine 
Mother  taught  Sister  Frances  Farnese.  She  gave  the 
Infant  Jesus  into  her  arms,  and  said  to  her:  "Here  is 
my  Son  for  you  ;  be  careful  to  make  your  profit  of  him 
by  frequently  offering  him  to  his  heavenly  Father." 

And  if  we  would  still  have  another  means  to  secure 
our  forgiveness,  let  us  obtain  the  intercession  of  this 
same  divine  Mother  in  our  behalf;  she  is  all-powerful 
with  her  blessed  Son  to  promote  the  interests  of  repent 
ant  sinners,  as  St.  John  Damascene  assures  us.  Yes,  for 
the  prayers  of  Mary,  adds  St.  Antoninus,  have  the  force 
of  commands  with  her  Son,  in  consideration  of  the  love 
he  bears  her  :  "  The  prayer  of  the  Mother  of  God  has 
the  force  of  a  command."2  Hence,  wrote  St.  Peter 

"  Quid  misericordius  intelligi  valet,  quam  cum  Filius  dicit:  Tolle 
me,  et  redime  te  ?" — Cur.  D.  //.  1.  2,  c.  20. 

2  "  Oratio  Deiparae  habet  rationem  imperil."— P.  4,  tit.  15,  c.  17,  §  4. 


The  Eternal  Word  becomes  Little.          45 

Damian,  when  Mary  goes  to  entreat  Jesus  Christ  in 
favor  of  one  who  is  devout  to  her,  "she  appears  to  com 
mand  (in  a  certain  sense),  not  to  ask,  as  a  mistress,  not 
a  handmaid  ;  for  the  Son  honors  her  by  denying  her 
nothing."  '  For  this  reason  St.  Germanus  adds  that  the 
most  holy  Virgin,  by  the  authority  of  mother  which  she 
exercises,  or,  rather,  which  she  did  exercise  for  a  time 
over  her  Son  upon  earth,  can  obtain  the  pardon  of  the 
most  abandoned  sinner.  "Thou,  by  the  power  of  thy 
maternal  authority,  gainest  even  for  the  most  enormous 
sinners  the  exceeding  grace  of  pardon."' 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

O  my  sweet,  amiable,  and  holy  Child  !  Thou  art  at  a  loss  what 
more  to  do  to  make  Thyself  beloved  by  men.  It  is  enough  to 
say  that  from  being  the  Son  of  God  Thou  wert  made  the  Son 
of  man,  and  that  Thou  chosest  to  be  born  among  men  like  the 
rest  of  infants,  only  poorer  and  more  meanly  lodged  than  the 
rest,  selecting  a  stable  for  Thy  abode,  a  manger  for  Thy  cradle, 
and'a  little  straw  for  Thy  couch.  Thou  didst  desire  thus  to 
make  Thy  first  appearance  before  us  in  the  semblance  of  a  poor 
child,  that  even  from  Thy  very  birth  Thou  mightest  lose  no  time 
in  attracting  our  hearts  towards  Thee;  and  so  Thou  didst  goon 
through  the  remainder  of  Thy  life,  ever  showing  us  fresh  and 
more  striking  tokens  of  Thy  love,  so  that  at  length  Thou  didst 
will  to  shed  the  last  drop  of  Thy  blood  and  die  overwhelmed 
with  shame  upon  the  infamous  tree  of  the  cross.  And  how  is 
it  that  Thou  couldst  have  encountered  such  ingratitude  from 
the  majority  of  mankind  ;  for  I  see  few  indeed  that  know  Thee, 
and  fewer  still  that  love  Thee  ?  Ah,  my  dear  Jesus,  I  too  desire 
to  be  reckoned  among  this  small  number!  In  time  past,  it  is 
true,  I  have  not  known  Thee ;  but,  heedless  of  Thy  love,  I  have 
only  sought  my  own  gratifications,  making  no  account  what- 

1  "  Accedis,  non  solum  rogans.  sed  imperans;  Domina,  non  ancilla; 
nam  Films  nihil  negans  honorat  te."— In  Nat.  B.  V.  s.  I. 

8  "  Tu  autem,  materna  auctoritate  pollens,  etiam  iis  qui  enormiter 
peccant,  eximiam  remissionis  gratiam  concilias."— In  Deip.  Dorm.  s.  2. 


46     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

ever  of  Thee  and  of  Thy  friendship.  But  now  I  am  conscious 
of  the  wrong  I  have  done  ;  I  am  sorry  for  it,  I  grieve  over  it  with 
my  whole  heart.  O  my  sweet  Child  and  my  God,  forgive  me 
for  the  sake  of  Thy  infancy.  I  love  Thee,  and  that  so  dearly, 

0  my  Jesus,  that  even  if  I  knew  that  all   mankind  were  about 
to  rebel  against  Thee  and  to  forsake  Thee,  yet  I  promise  never 
to  leave  Thee,  though  it  should  cost  me  my  life  a  thousand  times. 

1  am  well  aware  that  I  am  indebted   to  Thee  for  this  light  and 
this  good  resolution.     I  thank  Thee  for  it,  O  my  love!  and  I 
beseech  Thee  to  preserve  it  to  me  by  Thy  grace.     But  Thou 
knowest  my  weakness,  Thou  knowest  my  past    treasons  ;  for 
pity's  sake  do  not  abandon  me,  or  I  shall  fall  away  even  worse 
than  before.     Accept  of  my  poor  heart  to  love  Thee  ;  there  was 
a  time  when  it  cared  not  for  Thee,  but  now  it  is  enamoured  of 
Thy  goodness,  O  divine  Infant !  O  Mary !  O  great   Mother  of 
the  Incarnate  Word  !  neither  do  Thou  abandon  me  ;  for  Thou 
art   the  mother  of  perseverance,  and  the  stewardess  of  divine 
grace.     Help  me,  then,  and  help  me  always ;    with  thy  aid,  O 
my  hope  !  I  trust  to  be  faithful  to  my  God  till  death. 

DISCOURSE   III. 
The  Eternal  Word  from  being  Lord  became  a  Servant. 

Semetipsum  exinnnivit^formain  servi  accifiiens. 
"  He  humbled  himself,  taking  the  form  of  a  servant."— Phil.  ii.  7,  8. 

On  considering  the  immense  mercy  of  our  God  in  the 
work  of  the  human  redemption,  St.  Zachary  had  ^ood 
reason  to  exclaim,  Blessed  be  the  Lord  God  of  Israel, because 
He  hath  visited  and  wrought  the  redemption  of  His  people? 
Blessed  forever  be  God,  who  vouchsafed  to  come  down 
upon  earth  and  to  be  made  man  in  order  to  redeem  man 
kind.  That  being  delivered  from  the  hands  of  our  enemies, 
we  may  serve  Him  without  fear:'  In  order  that,  loosened 
from  the  shackles  of  sin  and  of  death,  wherein  our  ene- 

"  Benedictus  Dominus  Deus  Israel,  quia  visitavit,  et  fecit  redemp- 
tionem  plebissuae." 

"  Ut  sine  timore,  de  manu  inimicorum  nostrorurn  liberati,  servi- 
amus  illi." — Ltike,  i.  68-74. 


The  Eternal  Word  became  a  Servant.       47 

mies  held  us  fast  bound  and  enthralled,  we  might  fear 
lessly,  and  with  the  freedom  of  the  children  of  God,  love 
him  and  serve  him  during  this  life,  and  afterwards  go 
and  possess  and  enjoy  him  face  to  face  in  the  kingdom 
of  the  blessed, — in  that  kingdom  closed  against  us  indeed, 
heretofore,  but  now  thrown  open  to  us  by  our  divine 
Saviour. 

We  were,  in  fact,  all  heretofore  the  slaves  of  hell  ;  but 
what  has  the  Eternal  Word,  our  sovereign  Lord,  done  to 
free  us  from  that  slavery  ?  From  being  Lord  he  became 
a  servant.  Let  us  consider  what  a  mercy  and  what  an 
excessive  love  this  has  been;  but  first  let  us  beg  light  of 
Jesus  and  Mary. 

I. 

Almighty  God  is  Lord  of  all  that  is,  or  that  can  be  in 
the  world  :  ///  Thy  power  are  all  filings;  for  Thou  hast 
created  all.1  Who  can  ever  deny  God  the  sovereign 
dominion  over  all  things,  if  he  be  the  Creator  and  Pre 
server  of  all  ?  And  He  hath  on  His  garment  and  on  His 
thigh  written  King  of  kings  and  Lord  of  lords?  M a  1  d  o n  a t u s 
explains  the  words  "  on  his  thigh,"  to  mean  here,  "by  his 
own  very  nature;"  and  the  drift  of  it  is,  that  to  the  mon- 
archs  of  earth  outward  majesty  is  annexed  by  gift  and 
favor  of  the  supreme  King,  that  is  God;  but  God  himself 
is  King  by  his  very  nature;  so  that  he  cannot  possibly 
be  otherwise  than  King  and  Lord  of  all. 

But  this  sovereign  King,  though  he  bore  sway  over 
the  angels  in  heaven,  and  ruled  all  creatures,  yet  he  did 
not  rule  over  the  hearts  of  mankind  ;  mankind  was 
groaning  under  the  miserable  tyranny  of  the  devil.  Yes, 
before  the  coming  of  Jesus  Christ  this  tyrant  was  lord, 

1  "  In  ditione  enim  tua  cuncta  sunt  posita.   .  .  .  Tu  fecisti  coelum  et 
terram." — Esth.  xiii.  9. 

2  "  Et  habet  in  vestimento  et  in  femore  suo   scriptum:  Rex  regum 
et  Dominus  dominantium. — Apoc.  xix.  16. 


48     Discourses  for  the  Novcna  of  Christmas. 

and  even  made  himself  worshipped  as  God,  with  incense 
and  sacrifices,  not  only  of  their  animals,  but  even  of  their 
own  children  and  of  their  own  lives;  and  he,  their  enemy 
and  tyrant,  what  return  did  he  make  them  ? — how  did  he 
treat  them?  He  tortured  their  bodies  with  the  most 
barbarous  cruelty,  he  blinded  their  minds,  and  by  a  path 
of  pain  and  misery  conducted  them  down  to  everlasting 
torments.  It  was  this  tyrant  that  the  divine  Word  came 
on  purpose  to  overthrow,  and  to  release  mankind  from 
his  wretched  thraldom,  in  order  that  the  unfortunate 
creatures,  freed  from  the  darkness  of  death,  rescued 
from  the  bondage  of  this  savage  monster,  and  enlight 
ened  to  know  what  was  the  true  way  of  salvation,  might 
serve  their  real  and  lawful  Master,  who  loved  them  as  a 
Father,  and  from  slaves  of  Satan  wished  to  make  them 
his  own  beloved  children:  That  being  delivered  from  the 
hands  of  our  enemies,  we  might  serve  Him  without  fear.  The 
prophet  Isaias  had  long  ago  foretold  that  our  Redeemer 
should  destroy  the  empire  which  Satan  held  over  man 
kind:  And  the  sceptre  of  their  oppressor  Thou  hast  overcome? 
And  why  did  the  prophet  call  him  oppressor?  Because, 
says  St.  Cyril,2  this  heartless  master  exacts  from  the  poor 
sinners  who  become  his  slaves  heavy  tribute,  in  the  shape 
of  passions,  hatreds,  disorderly  affections,  by  means  of 
which  he  binds  them  in  a  still  faster  servitude,  while  at 
the  same  time  he  scourges  them.  Our  Saviour  came, 
then,  to  release  us  from  the  slavery  of  this  deadly  foe; 
but  how  ? — in  what  manner  did  he  release  us  ? — Let  us 
learn  from  St.  Paul  what  he  did:  Who  being  in  the  form  of 
God,  thought  it  not  robbery  to  be  equal  to  God,  but  emptied  him 
self,  taking  the  form  of  a  servant,  being  made  in  the  likeness 
of  men*  He  was  already,  says  the  Apostle,  the  only- 

"  Sceptrum  exactoris  ejus  superasti." — Isa.  ix.  4. 
2  "7»/r.  /.  i,  or.  5. 

"Cum  in  forma  Dei  esset,  non  rapinam  arbitratus  est  esse  se 
aequalem  Deo;  sed  semetipsum  exinanivit,  formam  servi  accipiens. 
in  similitudinem  hominum  factus." — Phil.  ii.  6. 


The  Eternal  Word  became  a  Servant.       49 

begotten  Son  of  God,  equal  to  his  Father,  eternal  as  his 
Father,  almighty  as  his  Father,  immense,  most  wise,  most 
happy,  and  sovereign  Lord  of  heaven  and  earth,  of  angels 
and  of  men,  no  less  than  his  Father;  but  for  the  love  of 
man  he  stooped  to  take  the  lowly  form  of  a  servant,  by 
clothing  himself  in  human  flesh,  and  likening  himself  to 
men;  and  since  sin  had  made  them  vassals  of  the  devil, 
he  came  in  the  form  of  man  to  redeem  them,  offering  his 
sufferings  and  death  in  satisfaction  to  the  divine  justice 
for  the  punishment  due  to  them.  Ah  !  who  would  have 
believed  it,  if  holy  faith  did  not  assure  us  of  it?  Who 
could  ever  have  hoped  for  it  ?— who  could  ever  have  con 
ceived  it?  But  faitli  tells  us  and  assures  us  that  this 
supreme  and  sovereign  Lord  emptied  himself,  taking  the 
form  of  a  servant. 

From  his  tenderest  childhood,  the  Redeemer,  by  be 
coming  a  servant,  was  eager  to  begin  and  wrench  from 
the  devil  that  dominion  which  he  had  over  man,  accord 
ing  to  the  prophecy  of  Isaias  :  Call  his  name,  hasten  to  take 
away  the  spoils:  Make  haste  to  take  away  the  prey.1  "That 
is,"  as  St.  Jerome  explains  it,  "suffer  the  devil  to  reign 
no  longer."  a  Behold  Jesus,  scarcely  born,  says  the  Ven 
erable  Bede,  before  he  assumes  the  form  and  office  of  a 
servant,  in  order  to  gain  us  freedom  from  the  slavery  of 
hell,  he  causes  himself  to  be  enrolled  as  a  subject  of 
Csesar,  and  pays  him  the  tribute:  " Scarcely  born,  he  is 
registered  in  the  census  of  Caesar,  and  for  our  liberation 
he  himself  is  inscribed  in  the  list  of  servitude."  :  Ob 
serve  how,  in  token  of  his  servitude,  he  begins  to  pay  off 
our  debts  by  his  sufferings  ;  how  he  allows  himself  to  be 
wrapped  in  swaddling-clothes  (a  type  of  the  cords  which 

1  "Voca  nomen  ejus:  Accelera  spolia  detrahere,  Festina  prsedari." 

Isa.  viii.  3. 

2  "  Hoc  est:  Ne  ultra  patiatur  regnare  diabolum." 

3  "  Mox   natus,  censu  Csesaris  adscribitur,  atque  ob   nostri  libera- 
tionem  ipse  servitio  subdhur." — In  Luc.  2.. 

4 


5<D     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

should  bind  him  at  a  later  day,  to  be  led  to  death  by 
cruel  executioners).  "God  suffers  himself,"  says  a  cer 
tain  author,  "  to  be  bound  up  in  swaddling-bands,  be 
cause  he  had  come  to  unbind  the  world  from  its  debts."1 
Behold  him  during  the  whole  course  of  his  after-life 
obeying  with  ready  submission  a  simple  Virgin  and  a 
man:  He  was  subject  to  them"  2  Look  at  him  as  a  servant 
in  the  poor  cottage  at  Nazareth,  employed  by  Mary  and 
Joseph  at  one  time  in  smoothing  the  wood  to  be  worked 
upon  by  Joseph  in  his  trade;  at  another  time  in  collect 
ing  the  scattered  shavings  for  fuel  ;  then  in  sweeping  the 
house,  in  fetching  water  from  the  well,  in  opening  or  in 
closing  the  shop  ;  in  fine,  says  St.  Basil,  as  Mary  and  Jo 
seph  were  poor,  and  obliged  to  earn  a  livelihood  by  the 
work  of  their  hands,  Jesus  Christ,  in  order  to  practise  obe 
dience,  and  to  show  towards  them  that  reverence  which 
as  to  Superiors  he  owed  them,  endeavored  to  render  them 
all  the  services  which  lay  in  his  power  as  man.  "  In  his 
early  age  Jesus  was  subject  to  his  parents,  and  obediently 
underwent  every  kind  of  bodily  fatigue;  for,  as  they 
were  poor,  they  necessarily  were  obliged  to  labor.  But 
Jesus  showed  his  obedience  by  his  submission  to  them, 
by  undergoing  every  kind  of  labor."  ;  What !  a  God  to 
serve  !  a  God  to  sweep  the  house  !  a  God  to  work  !  Ah, 
how  the  mere  thought  of  this  should  inflame  us  all,  and 
make  us  burn  with  love  ! 

Subsequently,  when  our  Saviour  went  forth  to  preach, 
he  made  himself  the  servant  of  all,  declaring  that  he 
had  come  not  to  be  served,  but  to  serve  all  others:  The. 

"  Patitur  Deus  se  pannis  alligari,  qui  totius  mundi  debita  venerat 
soluturus." — De  Nat.  Chr.  s.  3. 

2  "Erat  subditus  illis." — Luke,  ii.  51. 

"  In  primaaetate,  subditus  parentibus,  omnem  laborem  corporalem 
obedienter  sustinuit.  Cum  illi  enim  essent  pauperes,  merito  laboribus 
dediti  erant.  Jesus  autem,  his  subditus,  omnium  etiam  simul  perfer- 
endo  labores,  obedientiam  declarabat." — Const,  mon.  c.  4. 


The  Eternal  Word  became  a  Servant.       5 1 

Son  of  Man  is  not  come  to  be  ministered  unto,  but  to  minister.1 
As  much  as  to  say,  according  to  the  commentary  of 
Cornelius  a  Lapide,  "I  have  conducted  myself,  and  still 
conduct  myself,  so  as  to  show  how  I  would  willingly 
minister  to  all  as  the  servant  of  all."' 

Hence  Jesus  Christ,  says  St.  Bernard,  at  the  close  of 
his  life,  was  not  content  to  take  the  form  of  a  simple 
servant,  in  order  to  be  at  the  command  of  others,  but 
even  of  a  wicked  servant,  in  order  to  be  punished  as 
such,  and  so  to  pay  off  that  punishment  which  was  due 
to  us  as  the  servants  of  hell  in  chastisement  of  our 
sins.  "Taking  not  only  the  form  of  a  servant,  that  he 
might  obey,  but  of  a  wicked  servant  that  he  might  be 
chastised,  and  so  pay  the  penalty  of  the  servant's  sin."  ! 

Behold,  finally,  says  St.  Gregory  of  Nyssa,  how  the 
Lord  of  all  submits  as  an  obedient  subject  to  the  unjust 
sentence  of  Pilate,  and  to  the  hands  of  his  executioners, 
who  barbarously  torture  and  crucify  him.  "The  Lord 
of  all  is  obedient  to  the  sentence  of  the  judge,  the  king 
of  all  does  not  disdain  to  feel  the  hand  of  the  execu 
tioner's."4  St.  Peter  had  said  as  much  before:  He  de 
livered  Himself  to  him  that  judged  Him  unjustly?  And,  like 
a  servant,  he  is  resigned  to  punishment,  as  if  he  had  well 
deserved  it  :  When  He  was  reviled,  He  did  not  revile;  and 
when  He  suffered,  He  threatened  not.6  Thus  did  our  God 

1  "  Filius  hominis  non  venit  ministrari,  sed  ministrare." — Matt. 
xx.  28. 

'*  "  Ita  me  gessi  et  gero,  ut  velim  omnibus  ministrare,  quasi  om 
nium  servus." 

3  "  Non  solum  formam  servi  accepit,  ut  subesset;  sed  etiam  mali 
servi,  ut  vapularet;  et  servi   peccati,  ut  poenam  solveret." — Serm.  de 
Pass. 

4  "  Omnium   Dominus  judicis  sentential  subjicitur  ;  omnium  Rex 
carnificum  manu  exerceri  non  gravatur." — De  Beatit.  or.  i. 

5  "  Tradebat  autem  judicanti  se  injuste." — I  Peter,  ii.  23. 

6  "Cum  rr.alediceretur,  non  maledicebat  ;  cum  pateretur,  non  com- 
minabatur."— Ib.  ii.  23. 


52     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

love  us  to  such  a  pass,  that  for  our  love  he  chose  to  obey 
as  a  servant  even  unto  death,  and  a  death  of  such  ex 
treme  bitterness  and  ignominy  as  the  death  of  the  cross: 
Becoming  obedient  unto  death,  even  to  tJie  death  of  the  cross.1 
He  obeyed,  indeed,  not  as  God,  but  as  man,  and  as  a 
servant,  as  he  had  made  himself :  Taking  the  form  of  a 
servant,  and  being  made  in  the  likeness  of  men? 

The  world  stood  in  admiration  of  that  grand  act  of 
charity,  which  St.  Paulinus  performed  in  consenting  to 
become  a  slave  for  the  ransom  of  the  son  of  a  poor 
widow.  But  what  comparison  does  this  bear  with  the 
charity  of  our  Redeemer,  who  being  God,  and  in  order 
to  rescue  us  from  the  slavery  of  the  devil  and  from  death, 
our  just  due,  chose  to  become  a  servant,  to  be  fast  bound 
with  cords,  to  be  nailed  to  the  cross,  and  there  in  the 
end  to  lay  down  his  life  in  a  sea  of  sorrow  and  ignominy  ? 
In  order,  says  St.  Augustine,  that  the  servant  might  be 
come  lord,  God  chose  to  become  a  servant.3 

"  O  amazing  condescension  of  Thy  bounty  towards  us  ! 
O  inestimable  tenderness  of  Thy  charity  !" 4  exclaims  the 
Holy  Church.  "That  Thou  mightest  redeem  the  ser 
vant,  Thou  hast  delivered  up  the  Son."5  Thou,  then,  O 
God  of  boundless  majesty,  hast  been  so  fascinated  with 
love  for  men,  that  to  redeem  these  Thy  rebellious  ser 
vants  Thou  hast  consented  to  condemn  Thy  only  Son  to 
death.  But,  O  Lord,  replies  the  holy  man  Job  :  What  is 
a  man,  that  Thou  shouldst  magnify  him  ?  or  why  dost  Thou 

1  "Factus  obediens  usque  ad  mortem,  mortem  autem  crucis." — 
Phil.  ii.  8. 

2  "Formam  servi  accipiens,  in  similitudinem  hominum  factus." — 
Phil.  ii.  7. 

*  "  Ut  servus  in  dominum  verteretur,  formam  servi  Dominus  ac- 
cepit." — Serm.  371,  E.  B. 

4  "O  mira  circa  nos  tuae  pietatis  dignatio  !    O  insestimabilis  dilectio 
charitatis." — In  Sabb.  S. 

5  "  Ut  servum  redimeres,  Filium  tradidisti." 


The  Eternal  Word  became  a  Servant.       53 

set  Thy  heart  upon  him?*  What  is  man,  who  is  so  vile, 
and  has  proved  so  ungrateful  to  Thee,  that  Thou 
shouldst  make  him  so  great,  by  honoring  and  loving 
him  to  such  an  excess?  Tell  me  (he  goes  on  to  say), 
why  are  the  salvation  and  happiness  of  man  of  so  much 
importance  to  Thee?  Tell  me  why  Thou  lovest  him  so 
much,  that  it  would  seem  as  if  Thy  heart  was  set  on 
nothing  else  but  to  love  and  to  make  man  happy? 

II. 

Speed  on,  then,  with  gladness,  O  ye  souls  that  love 
God  and  hope  in  God,  speed  on  your  way  with  gladness  ! 
What  if  Adam's  sin,  and  still  more  our  own  sins,  have 
wrought  sad  ruin  on  us  ?  let  us  understand  that  Jesus 
Christ,  by  the  Redemption,  has  infinitely  more  than 
repaired  our  ruin  :  Where  sin  abounded,  grace  did  more 
abound*  Greater  (says  St.  Leo)  has  been  the  acquisi 
tion  which  we  have  made  by  the  grace  of  our  Redeemer, 
than  was  the  loss  which  we  had  suffered  by  the  malice 
of  the  devil.3  Isaias  had  long  ago  prophesied  that  by 
means  of  Jesus  Christ  man  should  receive  graces  from 
God  far  surpassing  the  chastisement  merited  by  his 
sins  :  He  hath  received  of  the  hand  of  the  Lord  double  for  all 
his  sins."  It  is  in  this  sense  that  Adam  the  commentator 
explains  this  text,  as  we  find  in  Cornelius  a  Lapide  : 
"  God  hath  so  given  remission  of  sins  to  the  Church 
through  Christ,  that  she  hath  received  double  (that  is 
manifold  blessings)  instead  of  the  punishments  of  sin 

"  Quid  est  homo,  quia  magnificas   eum  ?  aut  quid  apponis  erga 
eum  cor  tuum  ?  " — Job,  vii.  17. 

"  Ubi  autem  abundavit  delictum,  superabundavit  gratia." Kow. 

v.  20. 

"Ampliora  adepti   sumus   per  Christi  gratiam,  quam  per  diaboli 
amiseramus  invidiam." — De  Asc.  D.  s.  i. 

4  "Suscepit  de  manu  Domini  duplicia  pro  omnibus  peccatis  suis." 
— 7>a.  xl.  2. 


54     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

which  she  deserved."  The  Lord  said  :  /  am  come  that 
they  may  have  life,  and  may  have  it  more  abundantly?  I  am 
come  to  give  life  to  man,  and  a  more  abundant  measure 
of  life  than  what  they  had  lost  by  sin.  Not  as  the  offence, 
so  also  the  gift?  Great  had  been  the  sin  of  man  ;  but 
greater,  says  the  Apostle,  has  been  the  gift  of  redemp 
tion,  which  has  not  only  just  sufficed  for  a  remedy,  but 
superabundantly  :  and  with  Him  plentiful  redemption? 
St.  Ansel m  says,  that  the  sacrifice  of  the  life  of  Jesus 
Christ  surpassed  all  the  debts  of  sinners:  "The  life  of 
that  Man  surpasses  every  debt  which  sinners  owe."4 
For  this  reason  the  Church  styles  the  fault  of  Adam  a 
happy  one  :  "  O  happy  fault,  which  deserved  to  have  so 
great  a  Redeemer."  5  It  is  true  that  sin  has  clouded  the 
mind  to  the  knowledge  of  eternal  truths,  and  has  intro 
duced  into  the  soul  the  concupiscence  of  sensible  goods, 
forbidden  by  the  divine  command  ;  yes,  but  what  helps 
and  means  has  not  Jesus  Christ  obtained  for  us  by  his 
merits,  in  order  to  procure  us  light  and  strength  to  van 
quish  all  our  enemies,  and  to  advance  in  virtue?  The 
holy  sacraments,  the  Sacrifice  of  Mass,  prayer  to  God 
through  the  merits  of  Jesus  Christ, — ah  !  these  are  indeed 
arms  and  means  sufficient,  not  only  to  gain  the  victory 
over  all  temptation  and  concupiscence,  but  even  to  run 
forward  and  fly  in  the  way  of  perfection.  It  is  certain 
that  by  these  very  means  given  to  us,  all  the  saints  of 
the  new  law  have  become  saints.  Ours,  then,  is  the 
fault,  if  we  do  not  avail  ourselves  of  them. 

Oh,  how  much  more  are  we  bound  to  thank  Almighty 

1  "  Ego  veni  ut  vitam  habeant,  et  abundantius  habeant." — John. 
x.  10. 

'2  "  Non  sicut  delictum,  ita  et  donum." — Rom.  v.  15. 

3  "  Et  copiosa  apud  eum  redemptio." — Ps.  cxxix.  7. 

4  "Vita  Hominis  illius  superat  omne  debitum  quod  debent  pecca- 
tores." — Med.  de  Red.  hum. 

5  "  O  felix  culpa,  quae   talem    ac   tantura   meruit  habere  Redemp- 
torem!'' — In  Sabb.  S, 


The  Eternal  Word  became  a  Servant.       55 

God  for  having  brought  us  into  life  after  the  coming  of 
the  Messias  !  How  much  greater  blessings  have  we  re 
ceived  after  the  accomplishment  of  redemption  by  Jesus 
Christ  !  How  did  Abraham  desire  ;  how  did  the  proph 
ets  and  patriarchs  of  the  Old  Testament  long  to  see 
the  Redeemer  born  !  But  they  saw  him  not.  They 
deafened  the  heavens,  so  to  speak,  with  their  groans  of 
desire  and  with  their  ardent  prayers  :  Drop  down  dew, ye 
heavens  from  above,  and  let  the  clouds  rain  the  just,  was  their 
incessant  exclamation.  Rain  clown,  O  heavens,  and  send 
us  the  Just  One,  to  appease  the  wrath  of  that  God  whom 
we  ourselves  cannot  appease,  because  we  are  all  sinners  : 
Send  forth,  O  Lord,  the  Lamb,  the  Ruler  of  the  earth? 
Send,  O  Lord,  the  Lamb,  who  by  sacrificing  himself 
shall  satisfy  Thy  justice  for  us,  and  so  shall  reign  in  the 
hearts  of  men,  who  are  living  on  this  earth  the  unhappy 
slaves  of  the  devil  :  Show  us,  O  Lord,  Thy  mercy,  and 
grant  us  Thy  salvation?  Hasten  and  show  us,  O  God  of 
mercies,  that  greatest  mercy  which  Thou  hast  already 
promised  us,  namely,  our  Saviour.  Such  were  the  as 
pirations  and  longing  exclamations  of  the  saints.  But 
for  all  that,  during  the  space  of  four  thousand  years, 
they  had  not  the  happy  lot  to  see  the  Messias  born  :  we, 
however,  have  had  this  happiness.  But  what  are  we 
doing?  What  knowledge  have  we,  to  take  advantage  of 
it?  Do  we  know  how  to  love  this  amiable  Redeemer 
who  is  come  at  last,  who  has  already  ransomed  us  from 
the  hands  of  our  foes,  has  freed  us  by  his  own  death  from 
the  eternal  death  which  we  had  deserved,  has  thrown 
open  Paradise  for  us,  has  provided  us  with  so  many 
sacraments,  and  with  so  many  aids  to  serve  him  and 
love  him  in  peace  during  this  life,  that  we  might  go  and 

1  "  Rorate,  coeli,  desuper,  et  nubes  pluant  Justum." — Isa.  xlv.  8. 

2  "Emitte  Agnum,  Domine,  domtnatorem  terrse." — Ibid.  xvi.  I. 

3  "  Ostende  nobis,  Domine,  misericordiam  tuam,  et  salutare  tuum 
da  nobis."— Ps,  Ixxxiv,  8. 


56     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christinas. 

enjoy  him  forever  in  the  life  to  come?  "  He  was,"  says 
St.  Ambrose,  "wrapped  up  in  swaddling-clothes,  that 
you  might  be  loosed  from  snares  ;  his  poverty  is  my 
patrimony  ;  the  feebleness  of  the  Lord  is  my  strength  ; 
his  tears  have  washed  away  my  guilt." l  Very  great 
would  be  your  ingratitude  to  your  God,  O  Christian 
soul,  if  you  were  not  to  love  him,  after  he  has  been 
pleased  to  be  bound  in  swaddling-clothes,  that  you 
might  be  released  from  the  chains  of  hell  ;  after  he  has 
become  poor,  that  you  might  be  made  partaker  of  his 
riches  ;  after  he  has  made  himself  weak,  to  give  you 
power  over  your  enemies  ;  after  he  has  chosen  to  suffer 
and  to  weep,  that  by  his  tears  your  sins  might  be 
washed  away. 

But,  O  God  !  how  few  there  are  who  show  themselves 
grateful  for  so  immense  a  love  by  faithfully  loving  this 
their  Redeemer  !  Alas  !  the  greater  part  of  men,  after 
so  incomparable  a  benefit,  after  so  many  great  mercies 
and  so  much  love,  still  say  to  God  :  Lord,  we  will  not 
serve  Thee;  we  would  rather  be  slaves  of  the  devil  and 
condemned  to  hell  than  be  Thy  servants.  Listen  how 
God  upbraids  such  thankless  wretches  :  Thou  hast  burs 
My  bands,  and  thou  saidst :  I  will  not  serve?  What  say 
you,  my  brother?  have  you  too  been  one  of  these?  But 
tell  me,  whilst  living  far  from  God  and  the  slave  of  the 
devil,  tell  me,  have  you  felt  happy  ?  Have  you  been  at 
peace?  Ah,  no,  the  divine  words  can  never  fail:  Be 
cause  thou  didst  not  serve  the  Lord  thy  God  with  joy  and  glad 
ness  of  heart,  thou  shall  serve  thy  enemy  in  hunger  and  thirst, 
and  nakedness,  and  in  want  of  all  things?  Since  thou  hast 

1  "  Fuit  ille  involutus  in  pannis,  ut  tu  mortis  laqueis  absolutus  sis  ; 
meum   paupertas  illius  patrimonium  est,  et    infirrnitas    Domini   mea 
virtus  est,  mea  lacrymae  illae  delicta  lavarunt." — In  Luc.  2. 

2  "  Rupisti  vincula  mea,  et  dixisti:  Non  serviam." — Jer.  ii.  20. 

3  "  Eo  quod  non  servieris  Domino  Deo  tuo  in  gaudio  .   .   ,   servies 
inimico  tuo  ...  in  fame,  etsiti,  et  nuditate,  et  omni  penuria."— Deut. 
xxviii.  47. 


The  Eternal  Word  became  a  Servant.       57 

preferred  to  serve  thy  enemy  rather  than  to  serve  thy 
God,  behold  how  that  tyrant  has  treated  thee.     He  has 
made  thee  groan  as  a  slave  in  chains,  poor,  afflicted,  and 
deprived  of  every  interior  consolation.     But  come,  rise 
up  ;  God  speaks  to  thee  whilst  thou  mayest  still  be  freed 
from    the   fetters  of   death   which    bind   thee  :   Loose  the 
bonds  from  off  thy  neck,  O  captive  daughter  of  Sion?     Make 
haste  while  time  is  left,  unbind   thyself,  poor  soul,  who 
hast  become  the  voluntary  slave  of  hell,  strike  off  these 
cursed  chains  that  hold  thee  fast  as  a  prey  for  hell,  and 
bind  thyself  instead  with   my  chains  of  gold,  chains  of 
love,  chains  of  peace,  chains  of  salvation  :  her  bands  are  a 
healthful  binding?     But  in  what  manner  are  souls  bound 
to  God  ?     By  love  :  Have  charity,  which  is  the  bond  of  per 
fection?     A  soul  that  always  walks  by  the  single  way  of 
the   fear   of  punishment,  and   from    this    single   motive 
avoids  sin,  is  always  in  great  danger  of  making  a  relapse 
before  long  into  sin  ;  but  he  that  attaches  himself  to  God 
by  love  is  sure  not  to  lose  him  as  long  as  he  loves  him  ; 
and   for   this   reason   we   must   continually  beg   God   to 
grant  us  the  gift  of  his  holy  love,  always  praying  and 
saying  :  O  Lord,  keep  me  united  with  Thee,  never  suffer 
me  to  be  separated  from  Thee  and  from  Thy  love.     The 
fear  which  we  ought  rather  to  desire  and  beg  of  God  is 
a  filial  fear,  the   fear  of  ever   displeasing  this  our  good 
Lord  and  Father.     Let  us  also  always  have  recourse  to 
most  holy  Mary,  our  Mother,  that  she  may  obtain  for  us 
the  grace   to  love   nothing  else   but  God,  and   that  she 
would  so   closely  unite   us  by  love  to  her  Blessed  Son, 
that  we  may  never  more  see  ourselves  separated  from 
him  by  sin. 

1  "Solve  vincula  colli  tui,  captiva  filia  Sion."— ha.  lii.  2. 
8  "Vincula  illius,  alligatura  salutaris."— Eccltts.  vi.  31. 
3  «  Charitatem   habete,   quod   est  vinculum   perfectionis."— Coloss. 
in.  14. 


58     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 


Affections  and  Prayers. 

O  my  Jesus !  Thou  hast  been  pleased  to  become  a  servant  for 
love  of  me,  and  in  order  to  release  me  from  the  chains  of  hell  ; 
and  not  only  the  servant  of  Thy  Father,  but  of  men  and  of  exe 
cutioners,  even  to  the  laying  down  of  Thy  life  ;  and  I,  for  the 
love  of  some  wretched  and  poisonous  pleasure,  have  so  often 
forsaken  Thy  service,  and  have  become  the  slave  of  the  devil. 
A  thousand  times  over  I  curse  those  moments  in  which,  by  a 
wicked  abuse  of  my  free-will,  I  despised  Thy  grace,  O  infinite 
Majesty  !  In  pity  pardon  me,  and  bind  me  to  Thyself  with  those 
delightful  chains  of  love  with  which  Thou  keepest  Thy  chosen 
souls  in  closest  union  with  Thee.  I  love  Thee,  O  Incarnate 
Word  ;  I  love  Thee,  O  my  sovereign  Good  !  I  have  now  no 
other  desire  but  to  love  Thee ;  and  I  have  only  one  fear,  that  of 
seeing  myself  deprived  of  Thy  love.  O  never  suffer  me  to  be 
separated  from  Thee  again.  I  beseech  Thee,  O  my  Jesus  !  by 
all  the  sufferings  of  Thy  life  and  of  Thy  death,  do  not  suffer  me 
ever  more  to  leave  Thee  :  "  Suffer  me  not  to  be  separated  from 
Thee,  suffer  me  not  to  be  separated  from  Thee."  1  Ah,  my  God, 
after  all  the  favors  Thou  hast  shown  me,  after  pardoning  me  so 
repeatedly,  and  when  now  Thou  dost  enlighten  me  with  so  clear 
a  knowledge,  and  invitest  me  to  love  Thee  with  so  tender  an 
affection,  if  I  should  ever  be  so  wretched  as  again  to  turn  my 
back  upon  Thee,  how  could  I  presume  ever  to  receive  pardon 
afresh  ?  and  not  rather  be  afraid  that  in  that  same  instant  Thou 
would  cast  me  headlong  into  hell  ?  Ah,  never  permit  it ;  let  me 
say  again  :  "  Suffer  me  not  to  be  separated  from  Thee," 

O  Mary,  my  refuge,  thou  hast  hitherto  been  my  sweet  advo 
cate  ;  for  it  was  thou  that  didst  prevail  on  God  still  to  wait  for 
me  and  to  pardon  me  with  so  much  mercy  ;  help  me  at  present, 
obtain  for  me  the  grace  to  die,  and  to  die  a  thousand  times, 
sooner  than  ever  again  to  lose  the  grace  of  my  God. 

"  Ne  permittas  me  separari  a  te  ;  ne  permittas  me  separari  a  te." 


The  Eternal  Word  becomes  as  it  were  Guilty.   59 


DISCOURSE  IV. 

The  Eternal  Word  from  being  Innocent  becomes  as  it 
were  Guilty. 

Consolamini,  consolamini,  papule  meus,  dicit  Deiis  vester. 
"  Be  comforted,  be  comforted,  my  people,  saith  your  God."— Is.  xl.  i. 

Previous  to  the  coming  of  our  Redeemer,  the  whole 
unhappy  race  of  mankind  groaned  in  misery  upon  this 
earth  ;  all  were  children  of  wrath,  nor  was  there  one 
who  could  appease  God,  justly  indignant  at  tfreir  sins  : 
Behold,  Thou  art  angry,  and  we  have  sinned:  .  .  .  there 
is  none  that  riseth  up,  and  taketh  hold  of  T/iee.1  Yes, 
because  it  is  God  himself  who  has  been  offended  by 
man  :  man,  being  nothing  but  a  miserable  creature,  was 
unable,  by  whatever  extent  of  chastisement,  to  make 
atonement  for  the  injury  offered  to  an  infinite  majesty  : 
there  was  need  of  another  god  to  satisfy  the  divine  jus 
tice.  But  such  a  god  did  not  exist,  neither  could  there 
be  found  any  besides  the  one  God  alone  :  on  the  other 
hand,  the  person  offended  could  not  make  satisfaction  to 
himself  ;  so  that  ours  was  a  desperate  case. 

But  take  comfort,  take  comfort,  O  men,  saith  the  Lord 
by  the  mouth  of  Isaias  :  Be  comforted,  be  comforted,  my 
people,  saith  your  God ;  for  her  evil  is  come  to  an  end?' 
And  the  reason  is,  because  God  himself  hath  discovered 
a  way  of  saving  man,  while  at  the  same  time  his  justice 
and  his  mercy  shall  both  be  satisfied  :  Justice  and  peace 
have  kissed?  The  Son  of  God  has  himself  become  man, 
has  taken  the  form  of  a  sinner,  arid  loading  his  own 
shoulders  with  the  burden  of  satisfying  for  mankind,  he 
has  made  full  compensation  to  the  divine  justice  for  the 

1  "  Ecce  tu  iratus  es.  .  .  .  Non   est  qui.  .   .   .  consurgat,  et  teneat 
te." — Isa.  Ixiv.  5. 

2  "  Consolamini,  consolamini,  popule  meus,  dicit  Deus  vaster 

quia  completa  est  malitia." — Isa.  xl.  i. 

3  "  Justida  et  Pax  osculatse  sunt." — Ps.  Ixxxiv.  u. 


60     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

penalty  merited  by  men,  by  the  sufferings  of  his  life  and 
of  his  death  ;  and  thus  the  opposite  claims  of  justice  and 
of  mercy  have  been  paid. 

Has  Jesus  Christ,  then,  from  being  innocent  become 
guilty,  to  free  men  from  eternal  death  ?  that  is  to  say, 
has  he  chosen  to  pass  for  a  sinner?  Yes,  the  love  which 
he  bears  to  mankind  has  brought  him  even  to  this  pass. 
Let  us  consider  him  in  this  state  ;  but  let  us  first  beg 
light  of  Jesus  and  Mary  to  profit  by  it. 


I 


What  was  Jesus  Christ?  He  was,  answers  St.  Paul, 
holy,  innocent,  undefiled?  He  was,  to  speak  more  cor 
rectly,  sanctity  itself,  innocence  itself,  purity  itself,  since 
he  was  true  Son  of  God,  true  God  as  his  Father  ;  and  so 
dear  to  that  Father,  that  the  Father  there  on  the  banks 
of  the  Jordan  declared,  that  in  that  Son  he  found  all  his 
complacency.  But  this  Son  being  bent  upon  freeing 
mankind  from  their  sins  and  from  the  death  incurred  by 
them,  what  did  he  do  ?  He  appeared  to  take  away  our  sins, 
says  St.  John.2  He  presented  himself  before  his  heavenly 
Father,  and  offered  himself  to  pay  for  mankind  ;  and 
then  the  Father,  as  the  Apostle  tells  us,  sent  him  on 
earth  to  be  clothed  in  human  flesh,  to  take  the  appear 
ance  of  sinful  man,  and  to  be  made  in  all  things  like  to 
sinners  :  God  sending  His  own  Son  in  the  likeness  of  sinful 
flesh?  And  then  St.  Paul  adds  :  And  of  sin  hath  condemned 
sin  in  the  flesh.'  And  by  this  he  means,  according  to  the 
explanation  of  St.  John  Chrysostom  and  Theodoret,  that 
the  Father  sentenced  sin  to  be  dethroned  from  the 
tyranny  which  it  exercised  over  mankind,  by  dooming 

"  Sanctus,  innocens,  impollutus." — Heb.  vii.  26. 

"  Apparuit  ut  peccata  nostra  tolleret." — i  John,  iii.  5. 

"Deus  Filium  suum  mittens  in  similitudinem  carnis  peccati." 

Rom.  viii.  3. 
4  '   Et  de  oeccato  damnavit  peccatum  in  carne." 


The  Eternal  Word  becomes  as  it  were  Guilty.  61 

to  deatli  his  own  divine  Son,  who,  though  he  assumed 
flesh  that  was  to  all  seeming  contaminated  with  sin,  was 
nevertheless  holy  and  innocent. 

God,  therefore,  in  order  to  save  mankind,  and  at  the 
same  time  to  answer  the  claims  of  his  justice,  was  pleased 
to  condemn  his  own  Son  to  a  painful  life  and  to  a  shame 
ful  death.  And  can  this  ever  be  true  ?  It  is  of  faith,  and 
St.  Paul  assures  us  of  it  :  He  spared  not  even  His  own  Son; 
but  delivered  Him  up  for  us  a//.'  Jesus  Christ  himself 
affirms  it  to  us  :  God  so  loved  the  world,  as  to  give  his  only- 
begotten  Son.''  Celius  Rodiginus  relates,  that  there  was 
a  certain  man,  called  Dceotarus,  who  had  several  sons, 
but  loved  one  of  them  more  than  all  the  rest ;  insomuch 
that  in  order  to  leave  him  his  whole  fortune,  he  had  the 
monstrous  cruelty  to  murder  all  the  others.  But  God 
has  done  quite  the  reverse  ;  he  has  slain  his  well-beloved 
Son,  his  only  Son,  in  order  to  give  salvation  to  us  vile 
and  ungrateful  worms  :  God  so  loved  the  world,  as  to  give 
His  only-begotten  Son. 

Let  us  weigh  these  words  :  God  so  loved  the  world. 
What  ?  a  God  condescends  to  love  men,  miserable  worms, 
that  have  been  rebellious  and  ungrateful  towards  him, 
and  to  love  them  to  such  an  extent  ("  the  word  so  signi 
fies  the  vehemence  of  love,"  says  St.  John  Chrysostom), 
so  as  to  give  his  only-begotten  Son  !  that  he  chose  to 
give  them  his  very  Son,  and  that  only-begotten  one 
whom  he  loved  as  much  as  himself  !  Not  a  servant,  not 
an  angel,  not  an  archangel  did  he  give,  but  his  own  Sou,3 
subjoins  the  same  holy  Doctor.  But  in  what  manner  did 
he  choose  to  give  him  ?  He  gave  him  to  us  lowly,  hum- 

1  "  Proprio  Filio  suo  non  pepercit,  sed   pro  nobis  omnibus  tradidit 
ilium." — Rom.  viii.  32. 

2  "  Sic  enim    Deus  dilexit   mundum,  ut    Filium   suum    unigenitum 
daret." — John,  iii.  16. 

3  "  Non  servum,  non  Angelum,  non  Archangelum  dedit,  sed  Filium 
suum  !"— In  Jo.  now.  27. 


62     Discourses  for  the  Novcna  of  Christmas. 

bled,  poor,  despised  ;  he  gave  him  into  the  hands  of 
slaves  to  be  treated  as  a  miscreant,  and  even  to  be  put  to 
death,  covered  with  shame,  on  an  infamous  gibbet.  O 
grace  !  O  force  of  the  love  of  a  God  !  exclaims  St.  Ber 
nard  :  "  O  grace  !  O  the  strength  of  love  !"  '  O  God,  who 
would  not  be  touched  to  hear  of  such  an  instance,  that  a 
monarch,  to  release  his  slave,  was  compelled  to  put  his 
only  son  to  death, — that  son  who  was  all  the  love  of  his 
father,  and  was  beloved  by  him  as  his  very  self  ?  Had 
not  God  done  this,  says  St.  John  Chrysostom,  who  could 
ever  have  imagined  it  or  hoped  for  it  ?  "  What  things 
the  human  mind  could  never  have  conceived,  could  never 
have  hoped  for,  these  things  he  has  bestowed  on  us."2 

But,  O  Lord,  it  seems  like  an  injustice  to  sentence  an 
innocent  son  to  die  for  the  purpose  of  saving  a  slave  who 
has  offended  Thee.  "  According  to  all  human  reasoning," 
says  Salvian,  "one  would  certainly  accuse  that  man  of 
outrageous  injustice  who  should  kill  an  innocent  son  hi 
order  to  free  his  servants  from  the  death  which  they  had 
deserved."5  Yet  no,  with  God  this  has  not  passed  for 
injustice,  because  the  Son  made  the  spontaneous  offering 
of  himself  to  the  Father  to  satisfy  for  men:  He  was  of 
fered,  because  it  was  His  own  will*  Behold,  then,  how 
Jesus  voluntarily  sacrifices  himself  as  a  victim  of  love  for 
us;  behold  him,  how  as  a  mute  lamb  he  puts  himself 
into  the  hands  of  the  shearer,  and  although  innocent,  he 
comes  to  suffer  from  men  the  greatest  ignominies  and 
torments,  without  even  opening  his  mouth  :  He  shall  be 
dumb  as  a  lamb  before  His  shearer,  and  He  shall  not  open  His 

"  O  gratiam  !  O  amoris  vim  !" 

"  Quse  nunquam  humanus  animus  aut  cogitare  aut  sperare  potuit, 
haec  nobis  largitus  est." — In  i   7  im.  horn.  4. 

"Quantum  ad  rationem  humanam  pertinet,  injustam  rem  homo 
quilibetfaceret,  si  pro  pessimis  servis  filium  bonum   occideret." — De 
Cub.  D.  1.  4. 
4  "Oblatus  est,  quia  ipse  voluit." — Isa.  liii.  7. 


The  Eternal  Word  becomes  as  it  were  GUI,        63 

mouth.1  Behold,  in  fine,  our  loving  Redeemer,  who  to 
save  us  chose  to  surfer  death  and  the  punishment  deserved 
by  us  :  Surely  He  hath  borne  our  infirmities,  and  carried 
our  sorrows?  St.  Gregory  Nazianzen  says,  "  He  refused 
not  to  surfer  as  guilty,  provided  only  that  men  might 
obtain  salvation."  £ 

Who  has  done  this  ?  asks  St.  Bernard.  What  has  been 
the  cause  of  this  immense  prodigy?  A  God  to  die  for 
his  creatures  !  Who  has  done  this  ?  Charity  has  done 
this.4  This  has  been  wrought  by  the  love  which  God 
bears  to  man.  The  saint  pursues  his  meditation  on  the 
time  when  our  amiable  Redeemer  was  seized  by  the  sol 
diers  in  the  garden  of  Gethsemani,  as  is  related  by  St. 
John  :  And  they  bound  Him?  And  then  he  says  to  our 
Lord:  "  What  hast  Thou  to  do  with  chains  ?"  6  My  Lord, 
he  says,  I  behold  Thee  bound  by  this  vile  rabble  as  if 
Thou  wert  a  criminal,  and  they  are  about  to  drag  Thee 
to  an  unjust  death.  But,  O  God,  what  have  cords  and 
chains  to  do  with  Thee  ?  such  things  belong  to  evil-doers, 
but  not  to  Thee,  who  art  innocent,  who  art  the  Son  of 
God,  innocence  itself,  holiness  itself.  St.  Laurence  Jus 
tinian  replies  that  the  bonds  which  dragged  Jesus  Christ 
to  death  were  not  those  that  were  fastened  on  him  by  the 
soldiers,  but  the  love  he  bore  towards  men  ;  and  here 
upon  he  exclaims  :  "  O  charity,  how  strong  are  thy  bonds, 
by  which  even  a  God  could  be  bound  !" ' 

1  "  Et  quasi  agnus  coram  tondente  se,  obmutescet,  et  non  aperietos 
suum." — Isai.  liii.  7. 

2  "  Vere  languores  nostros  ipse  tulit,  et  dolores  nostros  ipse  porta- 
vit." — Ibid  liii.  4. 

3  "  Tanquam  impius  pati  non  recusat,  modo  homines  salutem  conse- 
quantur." 

4  "  Quis  hoc  fecit  ?   Fecit  amor." 

5  "  Comprehendcrunt  Jesum,  et  ligaverunt  eum." — John,  xviii.  12. 

6  "  Quid  tibi  et  vinculis  ! " — De  Pass.  D.  c.  4. 

1  "O  charitas  !  quam  magnum  est  viaculum  tuum,  quo  Deus  ligari 
potuit  !" — Lign.  v.  de  Char.  c.  6. 


64     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

The  same  St.  Bernard  goes  on  to  consider  the  iniqui 
tous  sentence  of  Pilate,  who  condemned  Jesus  to  the 
cross,  after  several  times  having  declared  him  innocent  ; 
and  then,  turning  himself  to  Jesus,  he  thus  bewails  him 
self  before  him  :  "What  hast  Thou  done,  O  most  inno 
cent  Saviour,  that  Thou  receivest  such  a  judgment?"1 
Ah,  my  Lord,  I  hear  this  wicked  judge  condemning  Thee 
to  die  upon  the  cross;  and  what  evil  hast  Thou  done? 
what  crime  hast  Thou  ever  perpetrated  to  deserve  such 
a  death  of  torture  and  shame? — a  death  awarded  to  none 
but  to  the  most  guilty  wretches  ?  But  he  then  resumes 
by  replying  :  Ah,  I  now  comprehend,  O  my  Jesus  !  what 
crime  it  is  of  which  Thou  art  guilty  ?  It  is  of  having  loved 
mankind  too  dearly:  "  Thy  love  is  Thy  crime."  2  Yes,  it  is 
this  love,  more  than  Pilate,  that  condemns  Thee  to  death  ; 
because  it  is  to  payoff  the  penalties  due  from  mankind 
that  Thou  hast  willed  to  suffer  death. 

As  the  time  of  the  Passion  of  our  Blessed  Re 
deemer  drew  near,  he  besought  his  Fatherthat  he  would 
hasten  to  glorify  him,  by  permitting  him  to  offer  to  him 
the  sacrifice  of  his  life  :  Father,  glorify  Thy  Son?  At 
this,  St.  John  Chrysostom  asks,  in  astonishment,  "What 
sayest  Thou  ?  Dost  thou  call  these  things  glory  ?"*  A 
Passion  and  a  death  accompanied  with  such  sufferings 
and  shame,  dost  Thou  call  this  Thy  glory?  And  the 
saint  then  replies  to  his  own  question  for  Jesus  Christ  : 
"  Yes,  since  it  is  for  my  beloved  ones,  I  esteem  it  a 
glory."5  Yes,  so  immense  is  the  love  I  entertain  for 
mankind  that  it  makes  me  regard  it  my  glory  to  suffer 
and  to  die  for  their  sake. 

1  "  Quid  fecisti,   O  innocentissime  Salvator  !  quod  sic  condemna- 
veris  ?" 

2  "  Amor  tuus,  peccatum  tuum." 

3  "  Et  nunc  clarifica  me  tu,  Pater." — John,  xvii.  5. 

4  "  Quid  dieis  ?  haec  gloriam  appellas  ?" 

*  "  Ita,  pro  dilectis  haec  gloriam  existimo." — In  Eph.  horn.  3, 


The  Eternal  Word  becomes  as  it  were  Guilty.  65 


II. 

Say  to  the  faint-hearted,  Take  courage,  and  fear  not:  behold 
your  God  will  bring  the  revenge  of  recompense;  God  Himself 
will  come  and  will  save  you.1  Fear  not,  then,  says  the 
prophet;  be  no  more  in  despair,  O  poor  sinners  !  What 
fear  can  you  have  not  to  be  pardoned,  when  the  Son  of 
God  comes  down  from  heaven  to  save  you?  Has  not  he 
himself  made  compensation  to  God  by  the  sacrifice  of 
his  life  for  that  just  vengeance  which  our  sins  demanded  ? 
If  you  cannot  by  your  own  works  appease  an  offended 
God,  behold  one  that  can  appease  him;  this  very  infant 
which  you  now  see  reposing  on  straw,  trembling  with 
cold,  and  weeping,  he,  with  his  tears,  propitiates  him. 

You  have  no  grounds  for  being  any  more  sad,  says  St. 
Leo,  on  account  of  the  sentence  of  death  fulminated 
against  you,  now  that  life  itself  is  born  for  you;  "  nor  is 
there  any  lawful  room  for  sadness,  when  it  is  the  birth 
day  of  life."2  And  St.  Augustine:  "  O  sweet  day  for 
penitents,  to-day  sin  is  taken  away,  and  shall  the  sinner 
despair?"'  If  you  are  unable  to  render  due  satisfaction 
to  the  divine  justice,  look  on  Jesus  who  does  penance  for 
you;  already  does  he  commence  to  do  it  in  this  little 
cave;  he  will  persevere  in  doing  penance  all  his  life,  and 
finally  bring  it  to  a  conclusion  on  the  cross,  to  which 
(according  to  the  saying  of  St.  Paul)  he  will  affix  the 
decree  of  your  condemnation,  cancelling  it  with  his  own 
blood :  Blotting  out  the  handwriting  of  the  decree  that  was 

1  "  Dicite  pusillanimis:  Confortamini,  et  nolite  timere;  ecce  Deus 
vester  ultionem  adducet  retributionis;  Deus  ipse  veniet,  et  salvabit 
vos." — Isa.  xxxv.  4. 

>2  "  Neque  fas  est  locum  esse  tristitiae,  ubi  natalis  est  Vitae." — In  Nat. 
D.  s.  i. 

3  "  Dulcis  dies  pcenitentibus;  hodie  peccatum  tollitur,  et  peccator 
desperat." — S.  117,  E.  B.  app. 
5 


66     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Cliristmas. 

against  us,  which  was  contrary  to  us.     And  He  hath  taken  the 
same  out  of  the  way,  fastening  it  to  the  cross? 

The  same  apostle  says  that  Jesus  Christ,  by  dying  for 
us,  was  made  our  justification:  He  is  made  unto  us  wisdom* 
and  justice,  and  sanctification,  and  redemption.'2'  "Justice," 
comments  St.  Bernard,  "  in  the  washing-away  of  sins." 
Yes;  for  God,  accepting  on  our  behalf  the  torments  and 
death  of  Jesus  Christ,  is  obliged  to  pardon  us  by  virtue 
of  the  compact  made:  Him  that  knew  no  sin,  for  us  He  hath 
made  sin,  that  we  might  be  made  the  justice  of  God  in  Him." 
The  innocent  one  was  made  a  victim  for  our  sins,  in 
order  that  forgiveness  through  his  merits  might  of  right 
belong  to  us.  For  this  reason  David  prays  God  to  save 
him,  not  only  for  his  mercy's  sake,  but  likewise  for  the 
sake  of  his  justice:  Deliver  me  in  Thy  justice? 

The  eagerness  of  God  to  save  sinners  was  always  im 
mense.  This  eagerness  led  him  to  approach  them  with 
that  cry:  Return,  ye  transgressors,  to  the  heart?  Sinners, 
enter  once  more  into  your  own  hearts;  think  of  the  bene 
fits  yon  have  received  from  me,  on  the  love  I  have  borne 
you,  and  offend  me  no  more.  Turn  ye  to  Me,  and  I  will 
turn  to  you?  Turn  back  to  me,  and  I  will  receive  you  in 
my  embraces:  Why  will  you  die,  O  house  of  Israel?  Re 
turn  ye  and  live?  My  children,  why  will  you  destroy 

1  "  Delens  quod  adversus  nos  erat  chirographum  decreti,  quod  crat 
contrarium   nobis,  et  ipsum  tulit   de  medio,    affigens   illud  cruci."— 

Coloss.  ii.  14. 

2  "Factus  est  nobis  sapientia  a  Deo,  et  justitia,  et  sanctificatio,  et 

icdemptio." — I  Cor.  i.  30. 

3  "  In  ablutione  peccatorum." — In  Cant.  s.  22. 

4  "  Eum,  qui  non  noverat  peccatum,  pro  nobis  peccatum  fecit,  ut  nos 
efficeremur  justitia  Dei  in  ipso."— 2  Cor.  v.  21. 

5  "  In  justitia  tua  libera  mea."— Ps.  xxx.  2. 

6  "  Redite,  pravaricatores,  ad  cor."— Isa.  xlvi.  8. 

7  "  Convertimini  ad  me  .   .    .   et  convertar  ad  vos"—Zach.  i.  3- 

s  "Quare  moricmini,  domus  Israel?  .   .  .   revertimini,  et  vivite."— 
Ezech.  xviii.  31. 


The  Eternal  Word  becomes  as  it  were  Guilty.   67 

yourselves,  and  of  your  own  free-will  condemn  yourselves 
to  everlasting  death  ?  Return  to  me  and  you  shall  live. 

In  a  word,  his  infinite  mercy  induced  him  to  descend 
from  heaven  to  earth  to  come  and  free  us  from  eternal 
death :  Through  the  bowels  of  the  mercy  of  our  God,  in  which 
the  Orient  from  on  high  hath  visited  us.1  But  here  we  must 
be  mindful  of  what  St.  Paul  says:  previously  to  God  be 
coming  man  he  reserved  mercy  for  us;  but  he  could  not 
feel  compassion  for  our  miseries,  because  compassion 
implies  some  suffering,  and  God  is  incapable  of  suffering. 
Now,  says  the  apostle,  in  order  to  be  moved  also  with 
compassion  for  us  the  Eternal  Word  willed  to  become 
man,  capable  of  suffering,  and  similar  to  other  men  who 
are  afflicted  with  compassion,  so  that  he  might  be  able 
not  only  to  save  us,  but  also  to  compassionate  us:  For 
we  have  not  a  High  Priest  who  cannot  have  compassion  on  our 
infirmities,  but  one  tempted  in  all  things  like  as  we  are,  without 
sin*  And  in  another  passage:  //  behoved  Him  in  all 
thitigs  to  be  made  like  unto  His  brethren,  that  He  might  become 
merciful. 

Oh,  what  a  tender  compassion  has  Jesus  Christ  for 
poor  sinners!  This  makes  him  say,  that  he  is  that  shep 
herd  who  goes  about  seeking  the  lost  sheep,  and  on 
finding  it  he  arranges  a  festival,  saying:  Rejoice  with  Me, 
because  I  have  found  My  sheep  that  was  lost.  And  He  lays 
it  upon  His  shoulders  rejoicing', 3  and  thus  he  carefully  keeps 
possession  of  it  in  his  fond  embraces  for  fear  he  should 
again  lose  it.  This,  too,  caused  him  to  say  that  he  is 
that  loving  Father  who,  whenever  a  prodigal  son  that 

ll<Per  viscera  misericordiae  Dei  nostri,  in  quibus  visitavit  nos 
Oriens  ex  alto." — Luke,  i.  73. 

2  "  Non  enim  habemus  pontificem  qui  non  possit  compati  infirmita- 
tibus    nostris,   tentatum    autem    per  omnia  pro  similitudine   absque 
peccato.     Debuit  per  omnia  fratribus  similari,  ut  misericors  fieret." 
— Heb.  iv.  15  ;  ii.  i  7. 

3  "  Congratulamini  mihi,  quia  inveni  ovem  meam  quae  perierat.    Im- 
ponit  in  humeros  suos  gaudens." — Luke,  xv.  4-6. 


68     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

has  left  him  returns  to  his  feet,  does  not  thrust  him 
away,  but  embraces  him,  kisses  him,  and  as  it  were  faints 
away  for  the  consolation  and  fondness  which  he  feels  in 
beholding  his  repentance:  And  running  to  him,  He  fell  upon 
his  neck  and  kissed  him.1  This  causes  him  to  say,  /  stand 
at  the  gate  and  knock;'2'  that  is,  that,  although  driven 
away  from  the  soul  by  sin,  he  does  not  abandon  her,  but 
he  places  himself  outside  the  door  of  her  heart  and 
knocks  by  his  calls  to  gain  readmittance.  This  made  him 
say  to  his  disciples,  who  with  an  indiscreet  zeal  would 
have  called  down  vengeance  on  those  who  repulsed 
them:  You  know  not  of  what  spirit  you  are.3  You  see  that 
I  have  so  much  compassion  on  sinners;  and  do  you  desire 
vengeance  on  them  ?  Go,  go  away,  for  you  are  not  of 
my  spirit.  Finally,  this  compassion  made  him  say: 
Come  to  me,  all  you  that  labor  and  are  burdened,  and  I  will  re 
fresh  you?  Come  to  me,  all  ypu  that  are  afflicted  and 
tormented  with  the  weight  of  your  sins,  and  I  will  give 
you  ease. 

And,  in  fact,  with  what  tenderness  did  our  amiable 
Redeemer,  the  moment  she  repented,  forgive  Magdalene, 
and  change  her  into  a  saint  !  With  what  kindness  did 
he  forgive  the  paralytic,  and  at  the  same  moment  restore 
him  to  bodily  health  !  And  with  what  sweet  gentleness, 
above  all,  did  he  treat  the  woman  taken  in  adultery  !  The 
priests  brought  that  sinner  before  him,  that  he  might 
condemn  her;  but  Jesus  turning  towards  her  said:  Hath 
no  man  condemned  thee  ?  Neither  will  I  condemn  thee.  As 
if  he  would  thereby  say:  None  of  those  who  conducted 
thee  hither  hath  condemned  thee,  and  how,  then,  shall  I 

i"Accurrens  cecidit  super  collum  ejus,  et  osculatus  est  eum." — 
Luke,  xv.  20. 

2  "  Ecce  sto  ad  ostium,  et  pulso." — Apoc.  iii.  20. 

3  "  Nescitis  cujus  spiritus  estis." — Lnke,  ix.  55. 

4"  Venite  ad  me  omnes,  qui  laboratis  et  onerati  estis,  et  ego  reft- 
ciam  vos."— J/a#.  xi.  28, 


The  Eternal  Word  becomes  as  it  were  Guilty.   69 

condemn  thee,  I  who  came  to  save  sinners  ?  Go  in  peace, 
and  sin  no  more.1 

Oh  no,  let  us  not  be  afraid  of  Jesus  Christ;  but  let  us 
be  afraid  of  our  own  obstinacy,  if  after  offending  him  we 
will  not  listen  to  his  voice,  inviting  us  to  be  reconciled. 
Who  is  he  that  shall  condemn  ?  says  the  apostle:  Christ  Jesus 
that  died;  who  also  maketh  inter  cession  for  vs.*  If  we  persist 
in  our  obstinacy,  Jesus  Christ  will  be  constrained  to  con 
demn  us;  but  if  we  repent  of  the  evil  we  have  done,  what 
fear  need  we  have  of  Jesus  Christ  ?  Who  has  to  pro 
nounce  on  us  sentence?  Think  (says  St.  Paul)  that  the 
self-same  Redeemer  has  to  sentence  thee  who  died  just 
that  he  might  not  condemn  thee;  that  self-same  one  who, 
that  he  might  pardon  thee,  hath  given  himself  no  par 
don  :  "In  order  to  redeem  the  servant,  He  hath  not 
spared  himself,"3  says  St.  Bernard. 

Go,  then,  O  sinner,  go  to  the  stable  of  Bethlehem,  and 
thank  the  Infant  Jesus,  all  shivering  with  cold  for  thy 
sake  in  that  cave,  moaning  and  weeping  for  thee  on  a 
bundle  of  straw;  give  thanks  to  this  thy  Redeemer,  who 
has  come  down  from  heaven  to  call  thee  to  himself  and 
to  save  thee.  If  ihou  art  desirous  of  pardon,  he  is  wait 
ing  thee  in  that  manger  to  pardon  thee.  Go  quickly, 
then,  and  obtain  thy  pardon;  and  afterwards  do  not  for 
get  the  excessive  love  which  Jesus  Christ  has  borne  thee: 
Forget  not  the  kindness  of  thy  surety.''  Forget  not  (says  the 
prophet)  that  high  favor  he  has  done  thee  by  making 
himself  surety  for  thy  debts  to  God,  in  taking  on  him 
self  the  chastisement  deserved  by  thee;  do  not  forget  it, 

1  "  Nemo  te  condemnavit  ?  .  .   .   Nee  ego  te  condemnabo.    Vade,  et 
jam  amplius  noli  peccare." — John,  viii.  10,  u. 

2  "  Quis  est  qui  condemnet  ?     Christus  Jesus,  qui  mortuus  est,   .   .   , 
qui  etiam  interpellat  pro  nobis." — Rom.  viii.  34. 

3  "Ut  servum  redimeret,  sibi  Filius  ipse  non  pepercit." — Serm.  de 
Pass. 

4  "Gratiam  fidejussoris  ne  obliviscaris." — Ecclus.  xxix.  20. 


70     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

and  love  him  for  it.  And  know  further,  that  shouldst 
thou  lovre  him,  thy  past  sins  will  not  stand  in  the  wav  of 
thy  receiving  from  God  those  specially  great  and  choice 
graces  which  he  is  wont  to  bestow  on  his  most  beloved 
souls:  All  things  work  together  unto  good?  "  Even  sins," 
subjoins  the  gloss.  Yes,  even  the  remembrance  of  the 
sins  we  have  committed  contributes  to  the  advantage  of 
the  sinner  who  bewails  and  detests  them,  because  this 
very  thing  will  conquer  to  make  him  more  humble 
and  more  pleasing  to  God,  when  he  sees  how  God  has 
welcomed  him  into  the  arms  of  his  loving  mercies: 
There  shall  be  joy  in  heaven  upon  one  sinner  that  doth  penance, 
more  than  upon  ninety-nine  just.'2' 

But  of  what  sinner  it  is  to  be  understood  that  he  gives 
more  joy  to  heaven  than  a  whole  multitude  of  just  ones  ? 
It  is  to  be  understood  of  tha1:  sinner  who,  out  of  grati 
tude  to  the  divine  goodness,  devotes  himself  wholly  and 
fervently  to  the  love  of  God,  after  the  example  of  a  St. 
Paul,  a  St.  Mary  Magdalene,  a  St.  Mary  of  Egypt,  a  St. 
Augustine,  and  a  St.  Margaret  of  Cortona,  To  this  last 
saint  in  particular,  who  had  formerly  spent  several  years 
in  sin,  God  revealed  the  place  prepared  for  her  in  heaven, 
amongst  the  Seraphim;  and  even  during  her  life  he 
showed  her  many  signal  favors,  insomuch  that,  beholding 
herself  so  favored,  she  one  day  said  to  God,  "O  Lord, 
how  is  it  that  Thou  lavishest  so  many  graces  on  me? 
Hast  Thou,  then,  forgotten  the  sins  I  have  committed 
against  Thee?"  And  God  thus  answered  her:  "And  do 
you  not  know  what  I  have  before  told  you,  that  when  a 
soul  repents  of  its  faults  I  no  longer  remember  all  the 
outrages  it  has  been  guilty  of  towards  me?"  This  same 
thing  he  had  long  ago  announced  by  his  Prophet  Eze- 

1  "Omnia  cooperantur  in  bonum." — Rom.  viii.  28. 

"  Ita  gaudium  erit  in  coelo  super  uno  peccatore  poenitentiam 
agente,  quam  super  nonaginta  novem  justis." — Luke,  xv.  7. 


The  Eternal  Word  becomes  as  it  were  Guilty.    71 

chiel :  If  the  wicked  do  penance  .  .  .  I  will  not  remember  all 
his  iniquities. 1 

Let  us  conclude.  Our  sins,  then,  do  not  prevent  us 
from  becoming  saints;  God  offers  us  readily  every  assist 
ance  if  we  only  desire  it  and  ask  it.  What  more  remains  ? 
It  remains  for  us  to  give  ourselves  entirely  to  God,  and 
to  devote  to  his  love  at  least  the  remainder  of  our  days 
in  this  life.  Come,  then,  let  us  bestir  ourselves;  what 
are  we  doing  ?  If  we  fail,  we  fail  through  ourselves,  and 
not  through  God.  Let  us  never  be  so  unhappy  as  to 
turn  all  these  mercies  and  loving  calls  of  God  into  sub 
jects  of  remorse  and  despair  upon  our  death- bed,  at  that 
last  moment  when  no  more  time  is  left  to  do  anything; 
then  the  night  sets  in:  The  night  cometh,  when  no  man  can 
work? 

Let  us  recommend  ourselves  to  the  most  holy  Mary, 
who,  as  St.  Germanus  says,  makes  it  her  glory  to  turn 
the  most  abandoned  sinners  into  saints,  by  procuring  for 
them  the  grace  of  conversion,  not  in  an  ordinary,  but  in 
an  extraordinary  degree;  and  this  she  is  well  able  to  do, 
because  what  she  asks  of  Jesus  Christ  she  asks  as  a 
Mother:  "  But  thou,  powerful  with  God  by  thy  maternal 
authority,  obtainest  a  wonderful  grace  of  reconciliation 
for  sinners,  even  for  those  who  have  sinned  enormously;" 3 
and  she  herself  encourages  us  in  those  words  put  into 
her  mouth  by  the  Holy  Church:  With  me  are  riches  .  .  . 
that  I  may  enrich  them  that  love  me  ^  and  elsewhere-  In  me 
is  all  grace  of  the  way  and  of  the  truth,  in  me  is  all  hope  of 

1  "  Si  impiusegerit  poenitentiam  .  .  .  omnium  iniquitatum  ejus  .  .  . 
non  recordabor." — Ezech.  xviii.  21. 

*  "  Venit  nox,  quando  nemo  potest  operari." — John,  ix.  4. 

3  "  Tu  autem,  materna  in    Deum  auctoritate  pollens,  etiam    iis  qu» 
enormiter  peccant,  eximiam  remissionis  gratiam  concilias." — InDeip. 
Dorm.  s.  2. 

4  "  Mecum  sunt  divitiae,   .    .   .  ut  ditem  diligentes  me." — Prov.  viii. 
18. 


72     Discourses  for  tJic  Novcna  of  Christmas. 

life  and  of  virtue?  Come  to  me  all,  she  says,  because 
you  shall  find  with  me  every  hope  of  saving  yourselves, 
and  of  saving  yourselves  as  saints. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

O  my  Redeemer  and  God  !  and  who  am  I,  that  Thou  shouldst 
have  loved  me,  and  still  continuest  to  love  me,  so  much  ?  What 
hast  Thou  ever  received  from  me  that  has  obliged  Thee  so  to 
love  me?  what,  except  slights  and  provocations,  which  were  a 
reason  for  Thee  to  abandon  me,  and  to  banish  me  forever  from 
Thy  face  ?  But,  O  Lord  !  I  accept  of  every  penalty  except  this. 
If  Thou  dost  forsake  me,  and  deprive  me  of  Thy  grace,  I  can 
nevermore  love  Thee.  I  have  not  the  pretensions  to  escape 
punishment;  but  I  wish  to  love  Thee,  and  to  love  Thee  exceed 
ingly.  I  wish  to  love  Thee  as  a  sinner  is  bound  to  love  Thee, 
who,  after  so  many  special  favors,  and  so  many  marks  of  love 
received  from  Thee,  has,  in  spite  of  all,  so  frequently  turned  his 
back  upon  Thee  ;  who,  for  the  sake  of  wretched  momentary  and 
poisonous  gratifications,  has  renounced  Thy  grace  and  Thy  love 
Pardon  me,  O  my  beloved  Infant,  for  I  am  sorry  with  my  whole 
heart  for  every  single  displeasure  I  have  given  Thee.  But 
know  that  I  shall  not  be  content  with  a  simple  pardon  ;  I  desire 
also  the  grace  to  love  Thee  ardently  ;  I  wish  to  make  compen 
sation  by  my  love  as  much  as  possible  for  the  past  ingratitude 
which  I  have  shown  Thee.  An  innocent  soul  loves  Thee  as 
innocent,  and  thanks  Thee  for  having  preserved  it  from  the 
death  of  sin.  I  must  love  Thee  as  a  sinner  ;  that  is,  as  one  who 
has  rebelled  against  Thee,  as  one  condemned  to  hell,  as  often  as 
I  deserved  it ;  and  then  so  often  graciously  received  back  by 
Thee  and  re  established  in  the  way  of  salvation,  and  over  and 
above  enriched  with  lights,  with  helps,  with  invitations  to  be 
come  a  saint.  O  Redeemer,  and  Redeemer  again  and  again  of 
rnysoul!  my  soul  is  now  enamoured  of  Thee,  and  loves  Thee. 
Thou  hast  loved  me  above  measure,  so  that,  overcome  by  Thy 
love,  I  could  no  longer  resist  its  winning  appeals,  and  at  last  I 
now  surrender  myself,  and  fix  all  my  love  on  Thee.  I  love  Thee, 
then,  O  infinite  Goodness  !  I  love  Thee,  O  most  lovable  God  ! 

"  In  me  gratia  omnis  vise  et  veritatis,  in  me  omnis  spes  vitae  et 
virtutis;  transite  ad  me  omnes." — Eccles.  xxiv.  25. 


The  Eternal  Word  became  Weak.  73 

Do  Thou  never  cease  to  enkindle  more  and  more  in  my  heart 
the  flames  and  fiery  darts  of  love.  For  Thy  own  glory  cause 
Thyself  to  be  greatly  loved  by  one  who  has  greatly  offended 
Thee.  Mary,  my  Mother,  thou  art  the  hope,  the  refuge  of  sin 
ners  ;  assist  a  sinner  who  desires  to  prove  faithful  to  his  God  ; 
help  me  to  love  him,  and  to  love  him  exceedingly. 

DISCOURSE  V. 
The  Eternal  Word  from  being  Strong  became  Weak. 

Dicite  pusillanimis:  Confortamini,  et  nolite  timere:  .  .  .  Deus  ipse  veniet,  et 
sali< ab it  i'os. 

41  Say  to  the  faint-hearted  :  Take  courage,  and  fear  not  :  God  Himself  will  come 
and  will  save  you." — Isa.  xxxv.  4. 

Isaias.  speaking  of  the  coming  of  the  Redeemer,  made 
this  prediction:  The  land  that  was  desolate  and  impassable 
shall  be  glad,  and  the  wilderness  shall  rejoice  and  shall  flourish 
like  the  lily.1  The  Prophet  had  been  speaking  of  the 
pagans  (among  whom  were  our  unfortunate  ancestors), 
who  were  living  in  heathendom,  as  in  a  desert  land, 
void  of  a  single  man  that  knew  and  worshipped  the  true 
God,  but  peopled  only  with  those  who  were  slaves  of  the 
devil:  a  desert  land  and  impassable,  because  there  was 
no  path  of  salvation  known  to  these  wretched  people. 
And  he  foretold  that  the  land,  though  so  miserable  then, 
would  afterwards  rejoice  at  the  coming  of  the  Messias, 
and  would  see  itself  filled  with  followers  of  the  true  God, 
strengthened  by  his  grace  against  all  the  enemies  of 
their  salvation;  and  that  it  would  blossom  as  the  lily, 
by  purity  of  morals  and  by  the  sweet  odor  of  all  holy 
virtues.  Wherefore  Isaias  proceeds  to  say:  Say  to  the 
faint-hearted,  Take  courage,  and  fear  not:  God  Himself  will 
come  and  save  you?  This  very  event,  foretold  by  Isaias,  has 

1  "  Leetabitur  deserta  et  in  via,  etexsultabit  solitude,  et  florebit  quasi 
lilium." — ha.  xxxv.  i. 

8  "  Dicite  pusillanimis:  Confortamini,  et  nolite  timere;  .  .  .  Deus 
ipse  veniet,  et  salvabit  vos." 


74     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

already  happened.  Let  me,  then,  exclaim  with  gladness: 
^o  on  joyfully  O  children  of  Adam!  go  on  joyfully,  be 
no  more  fa.nt-hearted.  Even  though  you  perceive  your 
selves  weak,  and  unable  to  stand  against  so  many  ene- 
m.es  Fear  not;  God  himself  will  come  and  save  you."  ' 
God  h.mself  has  come  on  earth,  and  has  redeemed  us  by 
ii.part.ng  to  you  strength  sufficient  to  combat  and  to 
vanquish  every  enemy  of  your  salvation 

How  did  our  Redeemer  procure  for  us  this  strength  > 
From  be.ng  strMg  and  omnipotent,  he  has  become  leak 
He  has  taken  on  himself  our  weakness,  and  bv  so  doing 
has  communicated  to  us  his  strength.  Let  us  see  the 
truth  rf  this.  But  let  us  first  seek"  Hght  of  jLuTal 

I. 

God  is  that  strong  one  who  alone  can  be  called  strong 
because    he  is    strength   itself;    and    whoever   is  stront 
derives  strength  from  him:  Strength  is  Mine,  and by  Me 
**«**?  saith  the  Lord.     God  is  that  mighty  one  who 
can  do  whatsoever  he  will;  and  he  can  do  this  with  ease- 
he  has  merely  to  wish  it  :  BekoM,  Thou  kast  made  heaven. 
«nd  earth  by  Thy  great  power,  and  no  word  shall  be  hard  to 
By  a  nod   he  created  heaven  and    earth  out  of 
hmg:  ffe  spoke,  and  they  were  made?  And  did  he  choose 
do  so,  he  could  destroy  the  immense  machinery  of  the 
un.verse  by  a  single  nod,  as  he  created  it:  At  a  beck  He 
can  utterly  destroy  the  whole  world?     We  know  already  how 
when  it  pleased  him,  he   burnt  five  entire  cities  with  a 
{  fire.     We  know  how,  previously  to  that,   he 

"Nolitetimere;  .  .  .   Deus  ipse  veniet,  et  salvabit  vos  " 
|;  Mea  est  fortitude;  per  me  reges  regnant.''-/-™,  viii.  ,4 

J    fecisti  coelum   et  terram  in  fortitudine  tua;  .  .  .  non 
ent  tib!  d.fflcile  omne  verbum."— /«-.  xxxii.  17 
j  Ipse  dixit  et  facta  mnt."—fi.  cxlviii.  5. 
'Potest.  .  .  .  universum  mundum  uno  nutu  delere."-2  Mack 


The  Eternal  Word  became  Weak.  75 

inundated  the  whole  earth  with  a  deluge  of  waters,  to 
the  destruction  of  all  mankind,  with  the  sole  exception 
of  eight  persons.  O  Lord,  says  the  wise  man:  who  can 
ever  resist  the  strength  of  your  arm  ?  ' 

Hence  we  may  see  the  rashness  of  the  sinner  who 
wrestles  against  God,  and  carries  his  audacity  so  far  as 
even  to  lift  up  his  hand  against  the  Almighty:  He  hath 
stretched  out  his  hand  against  God,  and  hath  strengthened  him 
self  against  the  Almighty.''  Suppose  we  should  see  an  ant 
make  an  assault  upon  a  soldier,  would  we  not  think  it 
rashness  ?  But  how  much  more  rash  is  it  for  a  man  who 
makes  an  assault  on  the  Creator  himself,  who  scorns  his 
precepts,  disregards  his  threats,  despises  his  grace,  and 
declares  himself  his  enemy  ! 

But  these  rash  and  ungrateful  men  are  the  very  men 
whom  the  Son  of  God  has  come  to  save,  by  making  him 
self  man,  and  by  taking  on  himself  the  chastisement  de 
served  by  them,  in  order  to  obtain  pardon  for  them.  And 
then,  seeing  that  man  from  the  wounds  inflicted  by  sin 
continued  very  weak  and  powerless  to  resist  the  strength 
of  his  enemies,  what  did  he  do  ?  From  strong  and  al 
mighty  as  he  was,  he  became  weak,  and  assumed  to  him 
self  the  bodily  infirmities  of  man,  in  order  to  procure  for 
man  by  His  merits  the  strength  of  soul  requisite  to  sub 
due  the  attacks  of  the  flesh  and  of  hell.  And  so,  behold 
him  made  a  little  child,  in  need  of  milk  to  sustain  his 
life,  and  so  feeble  that  he  cannot  feed  himself,  that  he 
cannot  move  himself. 

The  Eternal  Word,  incoming  to  be  made  man,  wished 
t-o  conceal  his  strength:  God  will  come  from  the  south  ; 
there  is  His  strength  hid.*  We  find  (says  St.  Augustine) 


1  "  Virtuti  brachii  tui  quis  resistet?" — Wis.  xi.  22. 

2  "  Tetendit  enim  adversus  Deum  manum  suam,  et  contra  Omnipo- 
tentem  roboratus  est." — Job.  xv.  25, 

3  "  Deus  ab  austro  veniet  .  .  .   ;  ibi  abscondita  est  fortitude  ejus." 
— Hab.  iii.  3,  4. 


76     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

Jesus  Christ  strong  and  feeble,— strong,  since  he  created 
all  things;  feeble,  since  we  behold  him  made  man  like 
us:  "We  find  Jesus  strong  and  weak  ,  strong,  by  whom 
all  things  were  made  without  labor.  Would  you  see 
him  weak?  The  Word  was  made  flesh."  ]  Now  this 
strong  one  has  chosen  to  become  weak,  says  the  saint, 
to  repair  by  his  weakness  our  infirmity,  and  so  to  obtain 
our  salvation:  He  hath  built  us  up  by  His  strength,  He  hath 
sought  us  by  His  infirmity?  For  this  reason  he  likens 
himself  to  the  hen,  when  he  speaks  with  Jerusalem:  How 
often  would  I  have  gathered  together  thy  children,  as  the  hen 
doth  gather  her  chickens  under  her  wings  !  and  thou  wouldst 
not?  St.  Augustine  remarks  that  the  hen  in  rearing  her 
chickens  grows  weak,  and  by  this  mark  is  known  to  be 
a  mother;  so  was  it  with  our  loving  Redeemer,  by  be 
coming  infirm  and  weak,  he  made  himself  known  for  the 
father  and  mother  of  us  poor  weak  creatures. 

Behold  him  who  governs  the  heavens  (says  St.  Cyril) 
swathed  in  rags,  and  unable  even  to  stretch  forth  his  lit 
tle  arms.4  Behold  him  in  that  journey  which  by  his 
Father's  will  he  had  to  make  into  Egypt ;  he  wished  al 
ready  to  obey,  but  he  cannot  walk  ;  Mary  and  Joseph 
are  obliged  to  take  turns  in  carrying  him  in  their  arms. 
And  in  their  return  from  Egypt,  as  St.  Bonaventure  con 
templates,  they  have  frequently  to  stop  and  rest,  because 
the  divine  child  was  now  so  much  grown  that  he  was 
too  large  to  be  carried  in  the  arms  ;  whilst,  on  the  other 
hand,  he  was  too  small  and  feeble  to  make  a  long  jour- 

"Invenimus  fortem  et  infirmum  Jesum:  fortem,  per  quern  sine  la- 
bore  facia  sunt  omnia;  infirmum  vis  nosse?  Verbum  caro  factum 
est." 

2  "  Condidit  nos  fortitudine  sua;  qusesivit  nos  infirmitate  sua." — 
In  Jo.  tr.  15. 

"  Quoties  volui  congregare    filios  tuos,  quemadmodum   gallina 
congregat  pullos  suos  sub  alas,  et  noluisti !" — Matt,  xxiii.  37. 
4  "  Qui  coelum  regit,  fasciis  involvitur." 


The  Eternal  Word  became  Weak.  77 

ney:  "  He  is  so  large  that  he  cannot  be  carried,  and  so 
small  that  he  cannot  walk  alone." 

Look  at  him  afterwards  in  the  shop  at  Nazareth,  grow 
ing  towards  manhood,  how  busily  he  toils  and  labors  in 
helping  Joseph  at  his  trade  of  carpenter  !  Who  can  ever 
attentively  consider  Jesus,  that  beautiful  youth,  fatigu 
ing  and  exhausting  himself  to  bring  into  form  some 
rough-hewn  piece  of  wood,  and  not  exclaim:  But,  most 
sweet  youth,  art  Thou  not  that  God,  who  by  a  mere  nod 
didst  create  the  world  out  of  nothing  ?  And  how  comes 
it  that  Thou  hast  labored  now  for  a  whole  day,  and 
bathed  in  sweat,  to  fashion  this  piece  of  wood  ;  and  even 
still  Thy  work  remains  unfinished?  Who  has  reduced 
Thee  to  such  a  state  of  weakness?  O  holy  faith  !  O  di 
vine  love  !  O  God  !  O  God  !  how  such  a  thought  as  this, 
if  once  well  penetrated,  would  suffice,  not  only  to  inflame 
us,  but  to  reduce  us,  so  to  speak,  into  ashes  with  the  fire 
of  love  !  Has  a  God,  then,  come  to  such  a  pass  as  this? 
and  wherefore?  To  make  himself  loved  by  men  ! 

Observe  him,  again,  at  the  close  of  his  life  bound  with 
cords  in  the  garden,  from  which  he  cannot  loose  him 
self  ;  tied  in  the  praetorium  to  a  pillar  to  undergo  the 
scourging;  see  him  with  the  cross  on  his  shoulders,  but 
too  feeble  to  carry  it,  and  therefore  he  frequently  falls 
upon  the  road  ;  see  him  fixed  to  the  cross  with  nails, 
from  which  he  can  find  no  escape  ;  behold  him,  finally, 
how,  for  very  exhaustion  and  weakness,  he  is  already  in 
his  agony,  draws  near  his  end,  and  expires. 

ii. 

And  for  what  reason  did  Jesus  Christ  become  so 
weak?  He  made  himself  weak,  as  we  said  above,  that 
so  he  might  communicate  his  strength  to  us,  and  by  this 

1  "Sic  magnus  est,  quod  portari  non  prsevalet ;  et  sic  parvus,  quod 
per  se  ire  non  potest." — Med.  vit.  Chr.  c.  13. 


78     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

means  conquer  and  subdue  the  powers  of  hell  :  The 
lion  of  the  tribe  of  Juda  hath  prevailed.1  David  says  that 
the  will  to  save  us  and  to  free  us  from  death  is  a  part 
and  property  of  God's  divine  nature.  Our  God  is  the 
God  of  salvation:  And  of  the  Lord,  of  the  Lord  are  the  is 
sues  from  death?  On  which  passage  Bellarmine  makes 
this  commentary:  "This  is  proper  to  him,  this  is  his 
very  nature  ;  our  God  is  a  saving  God  ,  and  of  our  God 
are  the  issues  of  death — that  is,  the  delivery  from  death."  3 
Are  we  indeed  weak  ?  let  us  put  our  trust  in  Jesus  Christ, 
and  we  shall  be  capable  of  all  things:  /  can  do  all  things 
in  Him  who  strengthened  me?  said  the  Apostle.  I  am 
able  for  all  things,  not  by  my  own  strength,  but  by  the 
strength  which  my  Redeemer  has  obtained  for  me 
through  his  merits:  Have  confidence,  I  have  overcome  the 
world?  Take  courage,  my  children,  Jesus  Christ  says  to 
us  ;  if  you  are  unable  to  resist  your  enemies,  /  have 
overcome  the  world  ;  and  know  that  I  have  overcome  it 
for  you.  My  conquest  was  to  give  you  the  spoils  ;  avail 
yourselves  now  of  the  arms  which  I  leave  you  to  defend 
yourselves,  for  you  are  sure  to  triumph. 

What  are  the  arms  which  Jesus  Christ  has  left  us  ? 
They  are  two,  the  use  of  the  sacraments  and  prayer. 

Everybody  knows  that  by  means  of  the  sacraments, 
especially  of  penance  and  the  Holy  Eucharist,  are  im 
parted  to  us  the  graces  which  our  Saviour  has  merited 
for  us  ;  and  experience  shows  us  every  day  that  those 
who  frequent  the  sacraments  easily  keep  themselves  in 
the  grace  of  God.  And,  especially,  how  is  he  that  often 

1  "  Vicit  Leo  de  tribu  Juda." — Apoc.  v    5. 

2  "  Deus  noster,  Deus  salvos  faciendi  ;  et  Domini,  Domini  exitus 
mortis."—/^.  Ixvii.  21. 

"  Hoc  est  illi  proprium,  hsec  est  ejus  natura:  ipse  Deus  noster  est 
Deus  salvans,  et  Dei  nostri  sunt  exitus  mortis,  id  est  liberatio  a 
morte." 

4  "  Omnia  possum  in  eo  qui  me  confortat." — Phil.  iv.  13. 

5  "  Confidite  •,  ego  vici  mundum." — John,  xvi.  33. 


The  Eternal  Word  became  Weak.  79 

communicates  strengthened  in  a  wonderful  manner  to 
vanquish  temptations!  The  Holy  Eucharist  is  called 
bread,  the  heavenly  bread,  that  we  may  understand  how 
the  Communion  preserves  the  life  of  the  soul,  which  is 
divine  grace,  just  as  earthly  bread  preserves  the  life  of 
the  body.  For  the  same  reason  the  Council  of  Trent 
calls  Holy  Communion  a  remedy  which  relieves  us  from 
venial  and  preserves  us  from  mortal  sins:  "An  antidote 
by  which  we  are  freed  from  daily  faults,  and  are  pre 
served  from  mortal  sins.1  St.  Thomas,  speaking  of  the 
Holy  Eucharist,  says  that  the  wound  left  by  sin  would 
remain  incurable,  were  it  not  for  this  remedy  which  is 
given  to  us.  "It  would  be  incurable,  were  it  not  the 
medicine  of  God  applied  to  cure  us."  '  Moreover,  Inno 
cent  III.  says  that  the  Passion  of  Jesus  Christ  delivers 
us  from  the  chains  of  sin,  and  the  Holy  Communion  de 
livers  us  from  the  will  to  sin:  "The  mystery  of  the  Cross 
delivers  us  from  the  power  of  sin  ;  the  mystery  of  the 
Eucharist,  from  the  will  to  sin.": 

The  other  grand  means  of  overcoming  temptations  is 
prayer  offered  to  God  through  the  merits  of  Jesus 
Christ:  Amen,  Amen,  I  say  to  you  (said  our  Redeemer), //>« 
ask  the  Father  anything  in  My  name,  He  will  give  it  you"  ' 
Whatsoever,  then,  we  ask  of  God  in  the  name  of  Jesus 
Christ,  that  is,  through  his  merits,  we  shall  certainly  ob 
tain  it.  And  this,  we  see,  happens  continually  ;  all  those 
who  are  tempted  and  have  recourse  to  God,  and  invoke 
him  through  Jesus  Christ,  invariably  come  off  victori- 

1  "  Antidotum  quo  liberemur  a  culpis  quotidianis,  et  a  peccatis  mor- 
talibus  praeservemur." — Sess.  13,  cap,  2. 

*  "  Esset  incurabilis,  nisi  subveniretur  medicina  Dei." — DC  Sacr. 
alt.  c.  i. 

3  "  Per  crucis  mysterium,  eripuit  nos  a  potestate  peccati  ;  per  Eu- 
charistige  sacramentum,  liberal  nos  a  voluntate  peccandi." — De  Alt, 
Myst.  \.  4,  c.  44. 

4  "  Amen,  amen  dico  vobis  :  si   quid   petieritis   Patrem   in   nomine 
meo,  dabit  vobis."— John,  xvi    23. 


8o     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

ous  ;  and,  on  the  contrary,  those  who  in  temptation 
(especially  of  impurity)  neglect  to  recommend  them 
selves  to  God,  fall  miserably  and  perish.  And  then  they 
excuse  themselves  by  saying  they  are  but  of  flesh,  and 
are  very  weak.  But  how  can  they  reasonably  allege 
their  weakness  as  an  excuse,  when  they  are  able  to  ac 
quire  strength  by  having  recourse  to  Jesus  Christ  (for  it 
is  enough  to  call  with  confidence  on  his  Most  Holy 
Name),  and  they  will  not  do  so?  What  excuse,  I  say, 
would  that  man  have  for  having  been  vanquished  by  his 
enemy,  who,  when  the  requisite  arms  for  his  defence 
were  presented  him,  had  despised  and  refused  them  ? 
Were  such  a  man  to  allege  his  weakness,  who  would  not 
instantly  condemn  him  with  these  words, — And  you, 
knowing  as  you  did  your  own  weakness,  why  did  you 
not  avail  yourself  of  the  arms  that  were  offered  you  ? 

St.  Augustine  says  that  the  devil  was  put  in  chains  by 
Jesus  Christ  ;  he  can  bark,  but  he  cannot  bite  any  one, 
except  those  who  wish  to  be  bitten.  That  man  is  really 
a  fool  (continues  the  saint)  who  allows  himself  to  be 
bitten  by  a  dog  chained  up:  "  Christ  came  and  chained 
the  devil.  He  is  bound  in  chains  like  a  dog.  Foolish 
is  the  man  whom  a  dog  in  chains  bites.  He  can  bark, 
he  can  make  attempts;  he  can  only  bite  him  who  wills 
so;  for  he  does  not  extort  our  consent  from  us,  but  seeks 
it."  And  in  another  passage  he  says  that  the  Re 
deemer  has  given  us  every  remedy  to  effect  our  cure  ;  he 
that  will  not  observe  the  laws  and  is  put  to  death,  dies 
because  he  wishes  his  own  death.  "  As  far  as  the  phy 
sician  is  concerned,  he  came  to  heal;  he  destroys  him 
self  who  will  not  observe  the  laws."2  He  that  takes 
"  Venit  Christus,  et  alligavit  diabolum.  Alligatus  est  tamquam 
innexus  canis  catenis.  Stultus  homo  ille  est,  quern  canis  in  catena 
positus  mordet.  Ille  latrare  potest,  sollicitare  potest  ;  mordere  non 
potest,  nisi  volentem:  non  enim  extorquet  a  nobis  consensum,  sed 
petit." — S.  37,  E.  B.  app. 

'l  "  Quantum  in  medico  est,  sanare  venit  segrotum  ;  ipse  se  interi- 
mit,  qui  praecepta  medici  observare  non  vuli." — In  Jo.  tr.  12. 


The  Eternal  Word  became  Weak.          8 1 

advantage  of  Jesus  Christ  is  not  weak;  no,  but  lie  waxes 
strong  on  the  strengtli  of  Jesus  Christ.  Jesus  it  is  who, 
as  St.  Augustine  says,  not  only  cheers  us  en  to  the  com 
bat,  but  affords  us  help;  if  we  fail,  he  is  ready  to  succor 
us;  and  of  his  immense  goodness  he  himself  crowns  us 
in  the  end:  "  He  encourages  you  to  fight,  and  helps  you 
to  conquer,  and  supports  you  if  you  languish,  and  crowns 
you  victorious."  Isaias  prophesied,  Then  sh.:ll  the  lame 
man  leap  as  a  hart  f  "  that  is,  by  the  merits  of  the  Re 
deemer,  he  who  could  not  stir  one  step  should  skip  over 
the  hills  as  a  swift  hart:  And  that  which  was  dry  land  shall 
become  a  pool,  and  the  thirsty  land  springs  of  water  ;  3  he  fore 
tells  that  the  most  parched-up  soil  should  teem  with 
virtues:  ///  the  dens  where  dragons  dwelt  before  shall  rise  up 
the  verdure  of  the  reed  and  the  bulrush',*  and  that  in  those 
souls  in  which  devils  formerly  abode  should  be  propa 
gated  the  vigor  of  the  reed, — namely,  of  humility,  be 
cause,  according  to  the  commentary  of  Cornelius  \  La- 
pide,  "  the  humble  man  is  empty  in  his  own  eyes;"5  and 
of  the  bulrush. — namely,  of  charity,  because,  as  the  same 
commentator  says,  in  certain  places  they  use  it  for  wicks 
to  burn  in  lamps. 

In  a  word,  we  find  in  Jesus  Christ  all  grace,  all  strength, 
all  help,  whenever  we  have  recourse  to  him:  In  all  things 
you  are  made  rich  in  Him,  so  that  nothing  is  wanting  to  you  in 
any  grace?  For  this  very  end  he  was  made  man,  and 

1  "  Hortatur  ut  pugnes,  et  adjuvat  ut  vincas,  et  deficientem   suble- 
vat,  et  vincentem  coronal." — In  Ps.  xxxii.  en.  2. 
'2  ''Tune  saliet,  sicut  cervus,  claudus." 

3  "  Et  qu£e  erat  arida,  erit   in   stagnum,  et  sitiens  in  fontes  aqua- 
rum." 

4  "  In  cubilibus,  in  quibus  prius  dracones  habitabant,  orietur  viror 
calami  et  junci." — Isa.  xxxv.  6-7. 

5  "  Quia  humilis  est  vacuus  in  oculis  suis." 

6  "  In  omnibus  divites  facti  estis  in  illo  .  .  .  ,  ita  ut  nihil  vobis  desit 
in  ulla  gratia."— I  Cor.  i.  5. 

6 


82     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

emptied  himself:  "He  emptied  Himself:'1  "  He,  as  it 
were,  reduced  himself  to  nothing,"  says  a  certain  author; 
"  He  made  himself  empty  of  majesty,  of  glory,  of 
strength."1  In  a  manner,  lie  lowered  himself  to  nothing; 
lie  put  off  his  majesty,  glory,  and  power,  and  took  on 
himself  ignominies  and  infirmities,  to  make  over  to  us 
his  worth  and  his  virtues,  that  so  he  might  be  our  light, 
our  justice,  our  satisfaction,  and  our  ransom:  Who  is  made 
unto  us  wisdom,  and  justice,  and  sanctification,  and  redemption? 
And  he  remains  ready  at  any  moment  to  give  health  and 
strength  to  every  one  that  asks  him. 

I  saw  one  girt  about  the  paps  with  a  golden  girdle*  St. 
John  saw  the  Lord  with  his  breasts  full  of  milk  (that  is, 
full  of  graces),  and  bound  about  with  a  girdle  of  gold; 
this  signifies  that  Jesus  Christ  is,  as  it  were,  hemmed 
round  and  compressed  with  the  love  he  bears  to  man; 
and  as  the  mother,  whose  breast  is  oversupplied  with 
milk,  seeks  for  children  who  may  imbibe  the  nourish 
ment  and  relieve  her  of  the  burden,  so  does  he  yearn  for 
us  to  come  and  seek  graces  of  him,  and  the  necessary 
help  to  conquer  our  enemies,  who  strive  to  rob  us  of  his 
friendship  and  of  eternal  salvation. 

Oh,  how  bounteous  and  liberal  is  God  with  a  soul  that 
sincerely  and  resolutely  seeks  him  !  The  Lord  is  good  to 
the  soul  that  seeketh  Him?  Wherefore,  if  we  do  not  be 
come  saints,  the  failure  rests  with  us,  because  we  do  not 
resolve  to  wish  for  God  alone:  The  sluggard  willeth  and 
willeth  not?  The  lukewarm  will  and  will  not;  and  there- 

"Semetipsum  exinanivit."— Phil.  ii.  7. 

"Quasi  ad  nihilum  se  redegit;  se  evacuavit  majestate,  gloria,  et 
robore." 

"  Factus  est  nobis  sapientia  a  Deo,  et  justitia,  et  sanctificatio,  et 
redemptio." — i  Cor.  i.  30. 

"  Vidi  .  .  .  praecinctum  ad  mamilias  zonaaurea." — Apoc.  i.  12. 

"  Bonus  est  Dominus  .  .  .  animse  quaerenti  ilium." — Lam.  iii.  25. 
6  *'  Vult  et  non  vult  piger." — Prov.  xiii.  4. 


The  Eternal  Word  became  Weak.          83 

fore  they  remain  defeated,  because  they  want  the  resolute 
will  to  please  God  alone.  A  resolute  will  overcomes 
everything;  for  when  once  a  soul  determines  really  to 
give  itself  wholly  to  God,  God  immediately  gives  it  the 
hand  and  the  strength  to  surmount  all  difficulties  that 
may  occur  in  the  way  of  perfection.  This  was  the  splen 
did  promise  which  Isaias  signified  to  us  in  these  words: 
O,  that  Thou  wouldst  rend  the  heavens  and  wouldst  come  down  ; 
the  mountains  would  melt  away  at  Thy  presence.1  The  crooked 
shall  become  straight,  and  the  rough  ways  plain?  At  the 
coming  of  the  Redeemer  he  will  endow  our  souls  with 
such  a  strength  of  good-will  that  they  will  find  levelled 
down  the  mountains  of  all  the  carnal  appetites;  and 
they  will  find  the  crooked  ways  made  straight,  and  the 
rough  ways  plain;  that  is,  the  contempts  and  labors  which 
formerly  were  so  difficult  and  hard  for  men  to  bear  will, 
by  means  of  the  grace  given  by  Jesus  Christ,  and  of  the 
divine  love  which  he  enkindles  in  their  hearts,  be  after 
wards  all  made  sweet  and  easy.  Thus  was  it  that  St. 
John  of  God  rejoiced  at  being  beaten  as  a  fool  in  a 
hospital;  thus  St.  Lidwine  was  glad  to  find  herself  dur 
ing  so  many  years  tied  down  to  her  bed  by  a  body  full 
of  wounds  and  sores;  thus  St.  Laurence  exulted  and 
mocked  the  tyrant,  while  scorching  on  a  gridiron,  and 
giving  his  life  for  Jesus  Christ.  And  so  likewise  do  so 
many  souls  enamoured  of  God  find  peace  and  content 
ment,  not,  indeed,  in  the  pleasures  and  honors  of  the 
world,  but  in  sufferings  and  insults. 

Ah!  let  us  beg  Jesus  Christ  to  impart  to  us  that  fire 
which  he  came  on  earth  to  enkindle;  that  so  we  may  no 
longer  find  it  difficult  to  despise  goods  of  dirt,  and  to 
undertake  great  things  for  God.  "  He  that  loves,  labors 

1  "  Utinam  dirumpercs  coelos,  et  descenderes  !  a  facie  tua  montes 
defluerent. " — Isa.  Ixiv.  i. 

8  "  Erunt  prava  in  directa,  et  aspera  in  vias  planas." — Isa.  xi.  4. 


84     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

not,"1  says  St.  Augustine;  the  soul  that  loves  God  only 
finds  it  neither  irksome  nor  painful  to  suffer,  to  pray,  to 
mortify  itself,  to  humble  itself,  and  to  detach  itself  from 
the  pleasures  of  earth.  The  more  it  works  and  suffers, 
the  more  it  is  eager  to  do  and  to  suffer:  Jealousy  is  hard 
as  hell ;  the  lamps  thereof  are  fire  and  flames?  The  flames 
of  divine  love  are  like  the  flames  of  hell,  which  never 
say  it  is  enough.  Nothing  whatever  satisfies  a  soul  that 
loves  God.  As  for  hell  no  fire  is  sufficient,  so  for  the 
loving  soul  its  ardor  is  never  satisfied. 

Let  us  ask  this  great  gift  through  the  intercession  of 
Mary,  by  whose  hands  (as  was  revealed  to  St.  Mary  Mag 
dalene  of  Pazzi)  divine  love  is  bestowed  upon  souls.  She 
is  God's  treasure,  the  treasurer  of  all  graces  (especially 
of  divine  love),  as  she  was  called  by  the  Idiota,  "The 
treasure  and  the  treasurer  of  graces."  3 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

My  sovereign  God  and  Redeemer,  I  was  lost;  Thou  hast 
ransomed  me  from  hell.  But,  unhappy  me  !  I  have  often  after 
wards  lost  myself  anew,  and  Thou  hast  as  often  released  me 
from  eternal  death  :  "  I  am  Thine,  save  me."  4  Since,  as  I  hope, 
I  am  now  Thine,  suffer  me  never  more  to  cast  myself  away  by 
rebelling  against  Thee,  I  am  resolved  to  suffer  death,  and  a 
thousand  deaths,  rather  than  see  myself  ever  again  Thy  enemy 
and  the  slave  of  the  devil.  But  Thou  knowest  my  weakness, 
Thou  knowest  my  past  treacheries.  Thou  must  give  me  strength 
to  resist  the  assaults  which  hell  will  make  upon  me.  I  know 
that  I  shall  be  assisted  by  Thee  in  temptation  whenever  I  shall 
have  recourse  to  Thee,  since  I  have  Thy  promise  for  it :  Ask, 
and  you  shall  receive?  Every  one  that  asketh  receiveth?  But 

1  "  Qui  amat,  non  laborat." — In  Jo.  tr.  48. 

2  "  Dura  sicut  infernus  aemulatio;  lampades  ejus,  lampades  ignis 
atque  flammarum." — Cant.  viii.  6. 

3  "  Thesaurus  et  Thesauraria  gratiarum." — Cont.  de  V.  M.  inprol. 

4  4<  Tuus  sum  ego;  salvum  me  fac." — Ps.  cxviii.  94. 

5  •'  Petite  et  accipietis." — John,  xvi.  24. 

3  ''Omnis  enim  qui  petit,  accipit." — Matt.  vii.  8. 


The  Eternal  Word  has  made  Himself  Ours.    85 

my  fear  is,  lest  in  the  moment  of  trial  I  should  fail  to  recom 
mend  myself  to  Thee,  and  so  be  miserably  overcome.  This, 
therefore,  is  the  grace  which  I  most  earnestly  implore  of  Thee: 
grant  me  light  and  strength  on  all  occasions  to  have  recourse  to 
Thee,  and  to  invoke  Thee  whenever  I  am  tempted  ;  and,  more 
over,  I  entreat  Thee  to  grant  me  Thy  help,  that  I  may  always 
ask  Thee  for  this  grace.  Grant  it  me  by  the  merits  of  Thy 
Precious  Blood.  And  thou,  O  Mary,  obtain  it  for  me  by  the 
love  which  thou  bearest  to  Jesus  Christ. 

DISCOURSE  VI. 
The  Eternal  Word  from  being  His  Own  has  made  Himself  Ours. 

Parvulus  natus  est  nobis,  et  Filius  datus  eat  nobis. 
"A  child  is  born  to  us,  and  a  Son  is  given  to  us." — Is.  xi.  6. 

Tell  me,  cruel  Herod,  why  dost  thou  command  so  many 
innocent  babes  to  be  murdered  and  sacrificed  to  thy  am 
bition  of  reigning?  Art  thou  perchance  afraid  that  the 
Messias  lately  born  may  rob  thee  of  thy  kingdom  ? 
"  Why  art  thou  so  troubled,  Herod  ?"  asks  St.  Fulgentius. 
"This  King  who  is  born  came  not  to  vanquish  kings  by 
fighting,  but  to  subdue  them  by  dying."  *  This  King,  of 
whom  thou  art  in  such  terror,  is  not  come  to  conquer 
the  monarchs  of  the  earth  by  force  of  arms,  but  he  is 
come  to  reign  in  the  hearts  of  men  by  suffering  and  dy 
ing  for  their  love.  "  He  came,  therefore"  (concludes  St. 
Fulgentius),  "not  that  he  might  combat  alive,  but.  that 
he  might  triumph  slain."5  Our  amiable  Redeemer  did 
not  come  to  carry  on  war  during  his  life,  but  to  triumph 
over  the  love  of  men,  when  he  should  have  laid  down 
his  life  on  the  gibbet  of  the  cross,  as  he  himself  said: 
When  I  shall  be  lifted  up,  I  will  draw  all  things  to  Myself* 

1  "Quid  est  quod  sic  turbaris,  Herodes?     Rex  iste  qui  natus  est, 
non  venit  reges  pugnando  superare,  sed  moriendo  subjugate. " 

2  "Venit  ergo  non  ut  pugnet  vivus,  sed  ut  triumphet  occisus." — 5. 
de  Epiph.  et  Inn.  nece. 

3  "  Si  exaltatus  fuero  a  terra,  omnia  traham  ad  meipsum." — John, 
jcii.  52. 


86     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

But  let  us  leave  Herod  aside,  O  devout  souls,  and  let 
us  come  to  ourselves.  Why,  then,  did  the  Son  of  God 
come  upon  earth?  was  it  to  give  himself  to  us?  Yes, 
Isaias  assures  us  of  it:  A  Child  is  born  to  us,  and  a  Son  is 
given  to  us.1  The  love  which  this  loving  Saviour  bears 
us,  and  the  desire  which  he  has  to  be  loved  by  us,  has 
induced  him  to  do  this.  Being  his  own,  he  has  become 
ours.  Let  us  see  it;  but  let  us  first  ask  light  from  the 
Most  Holy  Sacrament  and  from  the  divine  Mother. 


The  greatest  privilege  of  God,  nay,  the  whole  of  God, 
is  to  be  his  own,  that  is,  to  exist  of  himself,  and  to  depend 
on  no  one.  All  creatures,  however  grand  and  excellent 
they  may  be,  are  nothing  in  reality,  because  whatsoever 
they  have,  they  have  from  God,  who  has  created  them 
and  preserves  them;  and  this  in  such  a  manner  that  if 
God  were  for  a  single  moment  to  cease  from  preserving 
them,  they  would  instantly  lose  their  being  and  return 
to  nothing.  God,  on  the  contrary,  because  he  exists  of 
himself,  cannot  fail;  nor  can  there  be  any  one  to  destroy 
him,  or  to  diminish  his  greatness,  his  power,  or  his  hap 
piness.  But  St.  Paul  says  that  the  Eternal  Father  has 
given  the  Son  to  us:  He  delivered  Hijn  up  for  us  all?  And 
that  the  Son  has  given  himself  for  us:  Christ  also  hath 
loved,  us  and  hath  delivered  Himself  for  us.3  Has  God,  then, 
in  giving  himself  for  us,  made  himself  ours?  Yes,  re 
plies  St.  Bernard:  ''He  is  born,  who  belonged  to  him 
self;"  4  he  who  wholly  appertained  to  himself  chose  to  be 
born  for  us  and  to  become  ours;  love  triumphs  over 
God.5  This  God,  over  whom  none  besides  can  rule,  has, 

1  "  Parvulus  natus  est  nobis,  et  Filius  datus  est  nobis." 

2  "  Pro  nobis  omnibus  tradidit  ilium  !" — Rom.  viii.  32. 

3  "  Dilexit  nos,  et  tradidit  semetipsum  pro  nobis  J" — Ep-h.  v.  2. 

4  "  Natus  est  nobis,  qui  sibi  erat." 

5  "  Triumphal  de  Deo  amor," 


The  Eternal  Word  has  made  Himself  Ours.    87 

so  to  speak,  yielded  himself  captive  to  love;  love  has 
gained  the  victory  over  him,  and  from  being  his  own  has 
reduced  him  into  our  possession:  God  so  loved  the  world, 
as  to  give  His  only-begotten  Son.1  God  has  so  loved  men, 
says  Jesus  Christ,  that  he  has  even  given  them  his  only- 
begotten  Son.  And  the  Son  himself,  also  through  love, 
was  pleased  to  give  himself  to  men  to  be  loved  by  them. 

In  divers  ways  had  God  already  striven  to  win  the 
hearts  of  men,  at  one  time  with  benefits,  at  another  with 
threats,  and  again  with  promises;  but  he  had  still  fallen 
short  of  his  aim.  His  infinite  love,  says  St.  Augustine, 
made  him  devise  the  plan  of  giving  himself  entirely  to 
us  by  the  Incarnation  of  the  Word,  in  order  thus  to 
oblige  us  to  love  him  with  our  whole  hearts.  "Then 
love  found  out  the  plan  of  delivering  up  itself."  2  He 
could  have  sent  an  angel,  a  seraph,  to  redeem  man;  but, 
aware  that  man,  had  he  been  redeemed  by  a  seraph, 
would  have  had  to  divide  his  heart,  by  partly  loving  his 
Creator  and  partly  his  redeemer,  God,  who  would  possess 
the  entire  heart  and  the  entire  love  of  man,  ''wished 
therefore  to  be"  (says  a  pious  author)  "  both  our  Creator 
and  Redeemer;"3  as  he  was  our  Creator,  so  he  would 
likewise  become  our  Redeemer. 

And  behold  him  already  arrived  from  heaven  in  a 
stable;  as  a  child,  born  for  us  and  given  to  us:  A  Child  is 
born  to  us,  and  a  Son  is  given  to  us.*  This  was  precisely 
what  the  angel  signified  when  addressing  the  shepherds: 
To-day  is  born  to  you  a  Saviour?  As  much  as  to  say:  O 
ye  men,  go  to  the  cave  of  Bethlehem;  there  adore  the 
Infant,  which  you  will  find  laid  on  the  straw,  in  a  manger, 


1  "  Sic  enim   Deus  dilexit  mundum,  ut  Filium    suum   unigenitum 
daret."  —  John,  iii.  16. 

"2  "  Modum  tune,  ut  se  proderet,  invenit  amor." 

3  "  Voluit  esse  nobis  Creator  et  Redemptor." 

4  "  Parvulus  natus  est  nobis,  et  Filius  datus  est  nobis." 

5  "  Natus  est  vobis  hodie  Salvator."  —  Luke,  ii.  n. 


88     Discourses  for  the  N oven  a  of  Christmas. 

and  shivering  with  cold;  know  that  he  is  your  God,  who 
would  not  consent  to  send  any  one  else  to  save  you,  but 
would  come  himself,  that  he  might  gain  for  himself  all 
your  love. 

Yes,  it  was  with  the  purpose  of  making  himself  loved 
that  the  Eternal  Word  came  upon  earth  to  converse 
among  men:  He  conversed  with  men.1  If  a  king  speaks  a 
confidential  word  to  one  of  his  vassals,  if  he  smiles  upon 
him,  or  presents  him  with  a  flower,  oh,  how  honored  and 
happy  does  that  vassal  consider  himself!  How  much 
more  so,  should  the  king  seek  his  friendship;  should  he 
request  his  company  every  day  at  table;  should  he  desire 
him  to  take  up  his  residence  in  his  own  palace,  and  to 
abide  always  near  him!  Ah!  my  Great  King,  my  beloved 
Jesus,  as  before  the  Redemption  Thou  couldst  not  assume 
man  into  heaven,  whose  gates  remained  closed  by  sin, 
Thou  earnest  down  upon  earth  to  converse  with  men  as 
their  brothers,  and  to  give  Thyself  wholly  to  them,  from 
the  excess  of  the  love  Thou  bearest  them  !  He  loved  us 
and  delivered  Himself  up  for  us?  Yes,  exclaims  St.  Augus 
tine,  this  most  loving  and  most  merciful  God,  through 
his  love  to  man,  chose  to  give  him  not  only  his  goods, 
but  even  his  very  self.  "  The  most  merciful  God,  through 
his  love  of  man,  poured  out  upon  him  not  only  his  goods, 
but  his  whole  self."  3 

Well,  then,  the  affection  which  this  sovereign  Lord 
entertains  towards  us  miserable  worms  is  so  immense 
that  it  induced  him  to  give  himself  wholly  to  us,  being 
born  for  us,  living  for  us,  and  even  offering  up  his  life 
and  all  his  blood  for  us,  in  order  to  prepare  us  a  bath  of 
salvation,  and  to  wash  us  from  all  our  sins:  He  hath  loved 
us  and  washed  us  in  His  own  blood*  But,  Lord  (remon- 

1  "  Cum  hominibus  conversatus  est." — Bar.  iii.  38. 

2  "  Dilexit  nos,  et  tradidit  semetipsum  pro  nobis  !" 

"  Deus  piissimus,  prae  amore  hominis,  non  solum  sua.verum  seip- 
sum  impendit." — Man.  c.  26. 

4  "  Dilexit  nos,  et  lavit  nos  in  sanguine  suo." — Apoc.  i.  5. 


The  Eternal  Word  has  made  Himself  Ours.    89 

strates  the  Abbot  Guerric),  this  appears  an  extreme 
prodigality  of  Thyself,  coming  from  the  great  anxiety 
Thou  hast  to  be  loved  by  mankind.  "O  God!  if  we 
may  dare  say  so,  prodigal  of  Himself  through  desire  of 
man  !"  '  "  And  is  it  not  so  ?"  he  continues:  "  how  other 
wise  can  we  style  this  God  than  prodigal  of  himself  who, 
in  order  to  recover  lost  man,  not  only  gives  whatever  he 
has,  but  even  his  own  self  ?" '' 

St.  Augustine  says  that  God,  in  order  to  captivate  the 
love  of  men,    has  cast  several  darts  of  love   into  their 
hearts:   "God  knows  how  to  take  aim  at  love;  he  draws 
the  arrow  that  he  may  make  a  lover."  !       What  are  these 
arrows?     They  are  all  the  creatures  that  we  see  around 
us;    for   God   has  created  them   all   for  man,   that  man 
might   love  him;   hence   the  same  saint  says,  "Heaven 
and   earth   and   all  things   tell    me  to   love   Thee." 
seemed  to  the  saint  that  the  sun,  the  moon,  the  stars, 
the  mountains,  the  plains,  the  seas,  and  the  rivers  spoke 
to  him  and  said,  Augustine,  love  God,  because  God  has 
created  us  for  thee,  that  thou  mightest  love  him.     When 
St.  Mary  Magdalene  of  Pazzi  held  in  her  hand  a  beautiful 
fruit  or  flower,  she  declared   that    that    fruit  or   flower 
was  as  a  dart  to  her  heart,  which  wounded  her  with  the 
love  of  God;  thinking  as  she  did  how  from  all  eternity 
God  had  designed  to  create  that  flower  that  she  might 
discover  his  love,  and  love  him  in   return.      St.  Teresa, 
moreover,  said  that  all  the  fair  things  which  we  see,— the 
lakes,  the  rivers,  the  flowers,   the  fruits,  the  birds, — all 
upbraid  us  with  our  ingratitude  to  God,  for  all  are  tokens 

1  "O  Deum,  si  fas  est  dici,  prodigum  sui  prse  desiderio  hominis  !" 
8  "  An  non  prodigum  sui,  qui,  non  solum  sua,  sed  seipsum  impen- 
dit,  ut  hominem  recuperaret?" — In  Pent.  s.  i. 

3  "Novit  Dominus  sagittare  ad  amorem;  sagittat,  ut  faciat  aman- 
tem." — In  Ps.  cxix. 

4  "  Coelum  et  terra  et  omnia  mihi  dicunt  ut  te  amem." — Conf.  1.  10, 

c.  6. 


90     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

of  the  love  God  bears  us.  It  is  related  likewise  of  a 
pious  hermit,  that,  walking  in  the  country,  and  behold 
ing  the  herbs  and  the  flowers,  he  fancied  they  reproached 
him  with  his  ingratitude;  so  that,  as  he  went  along,  he 
struck  them  gently  with  his  staff,  saying  to  them:  Hush, 
be  silent,  I  understand  you,  no  more!  you  upbraid  me 
with  my  ingratitude,  because  God  has  created  you  in 
such  beauty  for  my  sake,  that  I  might  love  him,  and  I 
love  him  not;  oh,  be  silent,  I  hear  you,  enough,  enough  ! 
And  thus  the  good  man  pursued  his  way,  giving  vent  to 
the  ardors  of  love  which  he  felt  consuming  his  heart  for 
God  at  the  sight  of  those  fair  creatures. 

Thus,  then,  all  these  creatuies  were  so  many  darts  of 
love  to  the  heart  of  man;   but  God  was  not  satisfied  with 
these  darts  only;   they  were  not  enough  to  gain  him  the 
love  of  men:  He  hath  made  me  as  a  chosen  arrow;  in  his 
quiver  he  hath   hidden  me.1      On    this    passage    Cardinal 
Hugo  remarks,  that  as  the  sportsman   keeps  in  reserve 
the  best  arrow  for  the  last  shot,  in  order  to  secure  his 
prey;  so  did  God   among  all  his  gifts  keep  Jesus  in  re 
serve  till  the  fulness  of  time  should  come,  and  then   lie 
sent  him  as  a  last  dart  to  wound  with  love  the  hearts  of 
men:  "The   choicest   arrow   is  reserved;  so  Christ  was 
reserved   in   the  bosom  of  the  Father,  until  the  fulness 
of  time  should   come,   and    he  was   sent  to   wound    the 
hearts  of  the  faithful."       Jesus,  then,  was  the  choice  and 
reserved  arrow,  at  the  discharge  of  which,  according  as 
David  had  long  ago  foretold,  entire  nations  should  fall 
vanquished:    Thy  arrows  are  sharp;  under   Thee  shall  peo 
ple  fa//.3     Oh,   how    many  stricken    hearts   do   I    behold 
burning   with   love   before   the    manger   of   Bethlehem  ! 

"Posuit  me  sicut  sagiu*m  electam;  in  pharetra  sua  abscondit 
me." — Isa.  xlix.  2. 

"Sagitta  electa  reservatur;  ita  Christus  quasi  reservatus  est  in 
sinu  Patris,  donee  venit  plenitude  temporis,  et  tune  missus  est  ad 
vulnerandum  corda  fidelium." 

3  "Sagittae  tuae  acutae;  populi  sub  te  cadent."— P5.  xliv.  6, 


The  Eternal  Word  has  made  Himself  Ours.    QI 

how  many  at  the  foot  of  the  cross  in  Calvary  !  how  many 
before  the  Holy  Presence  of  the  Blessed  Sacrament  on 
our  altars  ! 

St.  Peter  Chrysologus  says  that  our  Redeemer  took 
many  various  forms  to  attract  the  love  of  man:  "For 
our  sake  he  showed  himself  under  different  forms,  who 
remains  in  the  one  form  of  his  majesty."1  That  God, 
who  is  unchangeable,  would  appear  now  as  a  child  in  a 
stable,  now  as  a  boy  in  a  workshop,  now  as  a  criminal 
on  a  scaffold,  and  now  as  bread  upon  the  altar.  In  these 
varying  guises  Jesus  chose  to  exhibit  himself  to  us;  but 
whatever  character  he  assumed,  it  was  always  the  char 
acter  of  a  lover.  Ah,  my  Lord,  tell  me,  is  there  anything 
else  left  for  Thee  to  devise  in  order  to  make  Thyself 
loved  ?  Make  known  his  inventions,  cried  out  Isaias. a  Go, 
O  redeemed  souls,  said  the  prophet,  go  and  publish 
everywhere  the  loving  devices  of  this  loving  God,  which 
he  lias  thought  out  and  executed  to  make  himself  loved 
by  man;  for  after  lavishing  so  many  of  his  gifts  upon 
them,  he  was  pleased  to  bestow  himself,  and  to  bestow 
himself  in  so  many  ways:  "If  thou  desirest  a  cure  for 
thy  wound"  (says  St.  Ambrose),  "he  is  a  Physician;"3  if 
thou  art  infirm  and  wouldst  be  healed,  behold  Jesus, 
who  heals  thee  by  his  Blood:  "If  thou  be  parched  up 
with  fever,  he  is  a  fountain;"4  if  the  impure  flames  of 
worldly  affections  trouble  thee,  behold  the  fountain  to 
refresh  thee  with  his  consolations.  "Dost  thou  fear 
death,  he  is  life;  dost  thou  long  for  heaven,  he  is  the 
way;  in  fine,  if  thou  dost  not  wish  to  die,  he  is  the  life; 
if  thou  wishest  heaven,  he  is  the  way.'' 

1  "  Propter  te  varias  monstratur  in  formas,  qui  manet  unica  suse 
majestatis  in  forma." — Serin.  23. 

-  "  Notas  facite  in  populis  adinventiones  ejus." — Isa.  xii.  4.  - 

3  "  Si  vulnus  curare  desideras,  medicus  est." 

4  "  Si  febribus  sestuas,  fons  est." 

6  "Si  mortem  times,  vita  est;  si  coelum  desideras,  via  est." — De 
Virg.  1.  3. 


92     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

And  not  only  has  Jesus   Christ  given   himself  to  all 

men  in  general,  but  he  wished,  moreover,  to  give  himself 

to  each  one   in   particular.     This   was   what   caused   St. 

Paul  to  say,  He  loved  me  and  delivered  Himself  for  me.1     St. 

John   Chrysostom  says  that  God  has  the  same  love  forj 

each  one  of  us  as  he  has  for  all  men  together.2      So  that, 

my  dear  brother,  if  there  had  been  no  others  in  the  world 

beside  yourself,  the  Redeemer  would   have  come  for  the 

sake  of  you  alone,  and  would  have  given  his  blood  and 

his  life  for  you.     And  who  can  ever  express  or  conceive 

(says  St.  Laurence  Justinian)  the  love  which  God  bears 

to  each  man?     "  Nor  is  it  possible  to  express  with  what 

affection  God  is  moved  towards  each  one."  3     This  led 

St.   Bernard   to   say   also,   in   speaking   of  Jesus   Christ, 

"  Given  wholly  to  me,  and  spent  wholly  for  my  interests."  4 

This  caused  St.  John  Chrysostom  also  to  say,  "He  gave 

himself  entirely  to  us,  he  reserved  nothing  for  himself."  6 

He  gave   us   his  blood,  his  life,   himself  in   the  Blessed 

Sacrament;  there  remains  nothing-  mOre  to  give  us.     In 

fine,  says  St.  Thomas,  after  God  has  bestowed  himself  on 

us,  what  else  remains  for  him    to  give  us?     "  God  had 

no  room   to  extend  himself  further."6     Wherefore  after 

the  work  of  the  redemption,  God   has   nothing  more  to 

give,  us,  nothing  more   that  he  can  do  for  the  love  of 

man. 

n. 

So  that  every  man  should  say,  with  St.  Bernard,  "  I 
owe  myself  for  myself;  what  can  I  return   the  Lord' for 
"Dilexit  me,  et  tradidit  semetipsum  pro  me." — Gal.  ii.  20, 
"  Adeo  singulum  quemquam  hominem  diligit,  quo  diligit  orbem 
universum." — In  Gal.  ii. 

"Neque  valet  explicari  quo  circa  unumquemque  Deus  moveatur 
affectu." — De  Tr.  Chr.  Ag.  c.  5. 

"  Totus  mihi  datus,  totus  in  meos  usus  expensus  est." — In  Cir- 
cumc.  s.  3. 

"Totum  nobis  dedit,  nihil  sibi  reliquit." 
Deus  ultra  quo  se  extenderet,  non  habet."— De  Beatit.  c.  2. 


ft     4< 


The  Eternal  Word  has  made  Himself  Ours.    93 

himself?'"     I  belong  to  God,  and  to  God  I   must  give 
back  myself,  for  having  created  me  and  given  me  my 
being;  but  after  I  have  given  myself,  what  return  shall  I 
make  to  God  for  having  given  himself  to  me  ?    We  have, 
however,  no  need   to  disturb  ourselves  any  longer;  it  is 
enough  if  we  give  our  love  to  God,  and  God  is  satisfied. 
The  kings  of  the  earth  glory  in   the  possession  of  king 
doms  and  of  wealth,  Jesus  Christ  rests  content  with  the 
sovereignty  of  our  hearts;   this  he  considers  his  princi 
pality;  and'  this  principality  he  sought  to  obtain  by  dying 
on  the  cross:  And  the  government  is  upon  his  shoulder. 2     By 
these   words,   "the  government  is   upon  his  shoulder,"  ' 
several  interpreters,  with  St.  Basil,  St.  Cyril,  St.  Augus 
tine,  and   others,   understand   the  cross  which   our  Re 
deemer  carried  on  his  shoulders.     This  heavenly  King, 
says  Cornelius  a  Lapide,  is  a  very  different  master  from 
the  devil:    the  devil   burdens  the  backs  of  his  subjects 
with  heavy  loads;  Jesus,  on  the  contrary,  takes  on   his 
own  shoulders  the  burdens  of  his  kingdom,  embracing 
the  cross,   on  which   he   will   die,   in   order  to   gain    the 
mastery  of  our  hearts:  "The  devil  lays  burdens  on   the 
shoulders  of  his  subjects,  Christ  will  bear  the  weight  of 
his  government  on   his  shoulders;  for  he  will  carry  the 
sceptre  of  his  kingdom— that  is,  the  cross— on   his  own 
shoulders,  and  will   reign  from   the  tree."        It  is  the  re 
mark  of  Tertullian  that  while  earthly  monarchs  bear  the 
sceptre  and  crown  as  symbols  of  royalty,  Jesus   Christ 
bore  the  Cross,  which  was  the  throne  which  he  mounted 
to  rule  over  our  love:   "  Every  king  bears  the  symbol  of 

1  "  Me  pro  me  debeo;  quid  Deo  retribuam  pro  ^T—Dedil.  D.  c.  5. 

*  "  Et  factus  est  principatus  super  humerum  ejus."— Isa.  ix.  6. 

3  "  Principatus  super  humerum  ejus." 

.  4"Diabolus  onera  imponit  humeris  subditorum;  Christus  suis 
humeris  sustinebit  onus  sui  principatus;  quia  Christus  sceptrum 
imperil  sui,  puta  Crucem,  humeris  suis  bajulabit,  atque  regnabit  a 
ligno." 


94     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

his  power  on  his  shoulder,  and  a  diadem  on  his  head,  or 
a  sceptre  in  his  hand.  The  King  Jesus  Christ  alone  bore 
his  power  on  his  shoulder,  namely,  the  cross,  that  from 
it  he  might  rule."  1 

Hence,  Origen  says,  if  it  be  that  Jesus  Christ  has  given 
himself  to  each  one,  what  great  thing  will  a  man  do  if  he 
give  himself  wholly  to  Jesus  Christ?  "If  Christ  gave 
himself,  will  man  do  much  in  giving  himself  to  God,  who 
was  the  first  to  give  himself  toman?"'  Let  us,  then, 
with  a  good  will  give  our  heart  and  our  love  to  this  God, 
who,  in  order  to  gain  it,  has  had  to  give  his  blood,  his 
life,  and  his  whole  self:  If  thou  didst  know  the  gift  of  God, 
and  who  He  is  that  saith  to  thee,  Give  Me  to  drink,  3  Oh,  if 
thou  didst  but  know  (said  Jesus  to  the  Samaritan  woman) 
the  grace  which  thou  receivest  from  God,  and  who  it  is 
that  asks  of  thee  to  drink  !  Oh,  did  the  soul  but  under 
stand  what  a  favor  it  is  when  God  requests  us  to  love 
him  in  those  words:  Thou  shalt  love  the  Lord  thv  God.  4 
Should  a  subject  hear  his  prince  command  him  to  love 
him,  the  bare  mention  of  such  a  request  would  be  enough 
to  captivate  him.  And  does  not  a  God  captivate  us  when 
he  requires  our  heart  ?  saying:  My  son,  give  Me  thy  heart.  5 
But  this  heart  he  will  not  have  divided,  he  will  have 
it  whole  and  entire  ;  he  wishes  us  to  love  him  with  our 
whole  heart  :  Thou  shalt  love  the  Lord  thy  God  with  thy 
whole  heart?  otherwise  he  is  not  content.  For  this  end 

"  Quis  regnum  insigne  potestatis  suse  bumero  praefert,  et  non  aut 
capita  diadema,  aut  in  manu  sceptrum  ?  Solus  Rex  Christus  Jesus 
potestatem  suam  in  humero  extulit,  Crucem  scilicet,  ut  exinde  reg- 
naret." — Adv.  Jud. 

"Christus  semetipsum  dedit;  quid  ergo  magnum  faciet  homo,  si 
semetipsum  offerat  Deo,  cui  ipse  se  prior  obtulit  Deus?" 

"  Si  scires  donum  Dei,  et  quis  est  qui  dicit  tibi:  Da  mihi  bibere." 
— John,  iv.  TO. 

4  "  Diliges  Dominum  Deum  tuum." — Matt.  xxii.  57. 

5  "  Praebe,  fili  mi,  cor  tuum  mihi." — Prov.  xxiii.  26. 

6  "  Diliges  Dominum  Deum  tuum  ex  toto  corde  tuo." 


The  Eternal  Word  has  made  Himself  Ours.    95 

he  has  given  us  all  his  blood,  his  whole  life,  his  whole 
self,  in  order  that  we  may  give  our  entire  selves  to  him, 
and  be  wholly  his.  And  let  us  understand  that  then  we 
shall  give  our  whole  heart  to  God  when  we  shall  give 
him  our  will  entirely,  not  wishing  anything  hencefor 
ward  but  what  God  wishes,— and  he  certainly  only 
wishes  our  welfare  and  our  happiness  :  To  this  end  Christ 
died  and  rose  again,  that  he  might  be  the  Lord  both  of  the  dead 
and  of  the  living.  Therefore  whether  we  live  or  whether  we 
die,  we  are  the  Lord's.1  Jesus  was  pleased  to  die  for  us  ; 
more  than  this  he  could  not  have  done  to  win  all  our 
love,  and  to  be  the  sole  Lord  of  our  heart  :  so  that  from 
this  day  forward  we  are  bound  to  make  known  to  heaven 
and  to  earth,  in  life  and  in  death,  that  we  are  no  longer 
our  own,  but  that  we  belong  solely  and  entirely  to  God. 
Oh,  how  God  long's  to  see,  and  how  dearly  he  loves  a 
heart  that  is  wholly  his!  Oh,  what  delicate  and  loving 
caresses  does  God  show,  what  good  things,  what  de 
lights,  what  glory  does  God  prepare  in  Paradise  for  a 
heart  that  is  wholly  his! 

The  Venerable  Father  John  Leonard  of  Lettera,  a 
Dominican,  one  day  beheld  Jesus  Christ  under  the  ap 
pearance  of  a  hunter,  and  traversing  the  forest  of  this 
earth  with  an  arrow  in  his  hand.  The  servant  of  God 
asked  him  what  he  was  thus  engaged  about.  Jesus  an 
swered  that  he  was  hunting  after  hearts.  Who  knows,  I 
say,  whether  in  this  Novena  the  Infant  Redeemer  will 
have  the  success  to  hit  and  to  make  a  prize  of  some 
hearts  which  he  has  been  hunting  after  for  a  long  time, 
and  hitherto  has  been  unable  to  wound  and  to  capture  ! 
Devout  souls,  if  Jesus  gain  us,  we  shall  also  gain 
Jesus.  The  advantage  of  such  an  exchange  is  all  on  our 
side.  "  Teresa"  (said  the  Lord  one  day  to  this  saint), 

1  "  In  hoc  enim  Christus  mortuusestet  resurrexit,  ut  etmortuorum 
et  vivorum  dominetur.—  Sive  ergo  vivimus,  sive  morimur,  Domim 
sumus." — Rom.  xiv.  3. 


g6     Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

"  up  to  this  time  you  have  not  been  all  mine  ;  now  that 
you  are  all  mine,  be  assured  that  I  am  all  yours."  St. 
Augustine  calls  love  "  a  bond  which  binds  the  lover  with 
the  loved  one."1  God  has  every  wish  to  clasp  us  and 
unite  us  to  himself;  but  it  is  also  necessary  for  us  to 
strive  and  unite  ourselves  to  God.  If  we  wish  God  to 
give  himself  entirely  to  us,  it  is  likewise  necessary  for  us 
to  give  ourselves  entirely  to  him. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

Oh  !  happy  me,  if,  from  this  day  forward,  I  shall  be  able 
always  to  say  with  the  sacred  spouse,  My  Beloved  to  me  and  I 
to  Him?  My  God,  my  Beloved  has  given  himself  all  to  me  ;  it 
is  but  reasonable  for  me  to  give  myself  all  to  my  God,  and  to 
say,  What  have  I  in  heaven  ?  and  besides  Thee  what  do  I  desire 
upon  earth  ? 3 

Oh,  my  beloved  Infant,  my  dear  Redeemer,  since  Thou  hast 
come  down  from  heaven  to  give  Thyself  to  me,  what  else  shall 
I  go  about  seeking  in  heaven  or  on  earth  besides  Thee,  who  art 
my  sovereign  Good,  my  only  treasure,  the  Paradise  of  souls? 
Be  Thou,  then,  the  sole  Lord  of  my  heart,  do  thou  possess  it 
wholly.  May  my  heart  obey  Thee  alone,  and  seek  to  please 
Thee  alone  !  May  my  soul  love  Thee  alone,  and  mayest  Thou 
alone  be  its  portion  !  Let  others  strive  after  and  enjoy  (if  en 
joyment  can  ever  be  found  out  of  Thee)  the  goods  and  fortunes 
of  this  world  ;  Thee  alone  do  I  desire,  who  art  my  fortune,  my 
riches,  my  peace,  my  hope  in  this  life  and  in  eternity.  Behold, 
then,  my  heart;  I  give  it  wholly  to  Thee  ;  it  is  no  longer  mine 
own,  but  Thine.  In  the  same  manner  as  at  Thy  entrance  into 
the  world  Thou  didst  offer  to  the  Eternal  Father,  and  present 
to  him  Thine  entire  will,  as  David  has  taught :  In  the  head  of 
the  book  it  is  written  of  Me,  that  I  should  do  Thy  will;  O  my  God, 
I  have  desired  it  ;4  so  do  I  on  this  day  offer  to  Thee,  my  Saviour, 

"  Vitta  copulans  amantem  et  quod  amatur." — De  Trin.  1.  8,  c.  10. 

"  Dilectus  meus  mihi,  et  ego  \\\\."—Cant.  ii.  16. 

"  Quid  enim  mihi  est  in  coelo?  et  a  te  quid  volui  super  terram  ?  .  .  . 
Deus  cordis  mei,  et  pars  mea,  Deus,  in  aeternum." — Ps.  Ixxii.  25. 

"  In  capite  libri  scriptum  est  de  me,  ut  facerem  voluntatem  tuam; 
D?us  meus,  volui." — Ps.  xxxix.  8, 


The  Eternal  Word  has  made  Himself  Ours.    97 

my  entire  will.  At  one  time  it  was  rebellious  against  Thee,  and 
with  it  I  offended  Thee  ;  but  for  all  the  wicked  consent  by  which 
I  have  miserably  forfeited  Thy  friendship  I  am  now  heartily 
sorry,  and  I  consecrate  my  entire  will  to  Thee.  Lord,  what  wilt 
Thou  have  me  to  do!1  tell  me  what  Thou  desirest  of  me,  for  I  am 
willing  to  do  all.  Dispose  of  me  and  of  my  affairs  as  Thou  wilt, 
for  I  accept  pf  all,  and  in  everything  I  resign  myself  to  Thee.  I 
know  well  that  Thon  wiliest  what  is  best  for  me,  and  therefore 
I  abandon  my  soul  fully  into  Thy  hands  :  Into  Thy  hands  I  com 
mend  my  spirit?  For  pity's  sake,  help  it  and  preserve  it!  and 
grant  that  it  may  be  always  and  entirely  Thine  own,  since  Thou 
hast  redeemed  it  with  the  last  drop  of  Thy  blood  :  Thou  hast 
redeemed  me,  O  Lord,  the  God  of  truth* 

0  happy  thou,  most  holy  Virgin  Mary  !  thou  wert  wholly  and 
always  God's  own,— all  fair,  all  pure,  and  without  spot :    Thou 
art  all  beautiful,  and  there   is   no  stain  in  thee*     Thou  alone, 
among  all  souls,  wert  styled  by  thy  Spouse  his  dove,  his  perfect 
one:    One  is  My  dove,  My  perfect  one."     Thou  art  the  garden 
closed  against  every  imperfection  and  fault,  and  all  laden  with 
the  flowers  and  fruits  of  virtue.     Ah,  my  Queen  and  my  Mother, 
thou  who  art  so  lovely  in  the  eyes  of  thy  God,  take  pity  on  my 
soul,  which  has  become  so  deformed  by  sin.     But  if  for  the  past 
I  have  not  belonged  to  God,  now  I  wish  to  be  his,  and  his  en 
tirely.     I  wish  to  spend  the  remainder  of  my  life  solely  in  lov 
ing  my  Redeemer,  who  hast  loved  me  so  much  ;   suffice  it  to 
say,  who  has  given  his  entire  self  to  me.     O  my  hope,  procure 
me  strength  to  be  grateful  and  faithful  to  him  till  death  !  Amen. 
This  is  my  hope,  so  may  it  be  ! 

1  "  Domine,  quid  me  vis  facere  ?" — Acts,  ix.  6. 

2  "In  manus  tuas  commendo  spiritum  meum." 

3  "  Redemisti  me,  Domine  Deus  veritatis." — Ps.  xxx.  6. 

4  "  Tola  pulchra  es,  Arnica  mea,  et  macula  non  est  in  te." — Cant. 
iv.  7. 

6  "  Una  est  columba  mea,  perfecta  mea." — Cant.  vi.  8. 

7 


9 8     Discourses  for  the  Novcna  of  Christmas. 


DISCOURSE  VII. 
The  Eternal  Word  from  being  Happy  made  Himself  Afflicted. 

Et  erunt  oculi  tui  videntes  Pr&ceptorem  tuum. 
"  And  thy  eyes  shall  see  thy  teacher."— Isa.  xxx.  20. 

St.  John  says,  All  that  is  in  the  world  is  the  concupiscence 
of  the  flesh,  and  the  concupiscence  of  the  eves,  and  the  pride  of 
life.1  Behold  the  three  sinful  loves  which  held  dominion 
over  man  after  the  sin  of  Adam, — the  love  of  pleasures, 
the  love  of  riches,  the  love  of  honors,  which  generate 
human  pride.  The  divine  Word,  to  teach  us,  by  his  ex 
ample,  the  mortification  of  the  senses,  by  which  the  love 
of  pleasures  is  subdued,  from  being  happy  became 
afflicted  ;  to  teach  us  detachment  from  the  goods  of  this 
earth,  from  rich  he  became  poor  ;  and,  finally,  to  teach 
us  humility,  which  overcomes  the  love  of  honors,  from 
being  exalted  he  became  humble.  We  will  speak  on 
these  three  points  during  these  three  last  days  of  the 
Novena  ;  to-day  let  us  speak  of  the  first. 

Our  Redeemer  came,  then,  to  teach  us  the  love  of  the 
mortification  of  the  senses  more  by  the  example  of  his 
life  than  by  the  doctrines  which  he  preached;  and  there 
fore,  from  happy,  as  he  is  and  had  always  been  from  all 
eternity,  he  became  afflicted.  Let  us  see  it,  and  let  us 
ask  light  of  Jesus  and  Mary. 

i. 

The  Apostle,  speaking  of  the  divine  beatitude,  calls 
God  the  only  one  happy  and  powerful  :  The  blessed  and 
only  mighty?  And  with  reason,  because  all  the  happiness 
which  can  be  enjoyed  by  us  his  creatures  is  nothing 

"Omnequod  est  in  mundo,  concupiscentiacarnisest,  et  concupis- 
centia  oculorum,  et  superbia  vitae." — i  John,  ii.  16. 
3  "  Beatus  et  solus  potens." — i  7't'w   vi.  15. 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Afflicted.     99 

more  than  the  smallest  participation  of  the  infinite  hap 
piness  of  God.  The  blessed  in  heaven  find  therein  their 
happiness;  that  is,  in  entering  into  the  immense  ocean  of 
the  happiness  of  God:  Enter  Thou  into  the  joy  of  thy  Lord.1 
This  is  the  paradise  which  God  bestows  on  the  soul  at 
the  moment  when  it  enters  into  possession  of  his  eternal 
kingdom. 

God,  in  creating  man  at  the  beginning,  did  not  place 
him  on  earth  to  surfer,  but  put  him  into  the  paradise  of 
pleasure?  He  put  him  in  a  place  of  delight,  in  order  that 
he  might  pass  thence  to  heaven,  where  he  should  enjoy 
for  all  eternity  the  glory  of  the  blessed.  But  by  sin  un 
happy  man  made  himself  unworthy  of  the  earthly,  and 
closed  against  himself  the  gates  of  the  heavenly  para 
dise,  wilfully  condemning  himself  to  death  and  to  ever 
lasting  misery.  But  the  Son  of  God,  in  order  to  rescue 
man  from  such  a  state  of  ruin,  what  did  he  do?  From 
blessed  and  most  happy  as  he  was,  he  chose  to  become 
afflicted  and  tormented.  Our  Redeemer  could,  indeed, 
have  rescued  us  from  the  hands  of  our  enemies  without 
suffering.  He  could  have  come  on  earth  and  continued 
in  his  happiness,  leading  here  below  a  pleasant  life,  re 
ceiving  the  honor  justly  due  to  him  as  King  and  Lord 
of  all.  It  was  enough,  as  far  as  regarded  the  redemp 
tion,  that  he  should  have  offered  to  God  one  drop  of 
blood,  one  single  tear,  to  redeem  the  world  and  an 
infinity  of  worlds  :  "the  least  degree  of  the  suffering  of 
Christ  "  (says  the  Angelic  Doctor)  "  would  have  sufficed 
for  redemption,  on  account  of  the  infinite  dignity  of  his 
Person."  3  But  no  :  "  Having  joy  set  before  Him,  He  en 
dured  the  Cross?  He  renounced  all  honors  and  pleasures 

1  "  Intra  in  gaudium  Domini  tui." — Matt.  xxv.  21. 

2  "  Posuit  eum  in  paradise  voluptatis." — Gen.  ii.  15. 

3  "  Quselibet  passio  Christi  suffecisset  ad  redemptionem,  propter  in- 
finitam  dignitatem  personse."  —  Quodlib.  2,  a.  2. 

4  "  Proposito  sibi  gaudio,  sustinuit  crucem." — Heb.  xii.  2. 


ioo  Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

and  made  choice  on  earth  of  a  life  all  full  of  toils  and 
ignominies.  Yes,  says  St.  John  Chrysostom,  any  action 
whatever  of  the  Incarnate  Word  sufficed  for  redemption; 
but  it  did  not  suffice  for  the  love  which  he  bore  to  man. 
"  What  was  sufficient  for  redemption  was  not  sufficient 
for  love."  And  whereas  he  that  loves  desires  to  see 
himself  loved  in  return,  Jesus  Christ,  in  order  to  be 
loved  by  man,  was  pleased  to  suffer  exceedingly,  and  to 
choose  for  himself  a  life  of  continual  suffering,  to  put 
man  under  an  obligation  of  loving  him.  Our  Lord  re 
vealed  to  St.  Margaret  of  Cortona  that  in  his  whole  life 
he  never  experienced  the  smallest  degree  of  sensible  con 
solation:  Great  as  the  seats  Thy  destruction?  The  life  of 
Jesus  Christ  was  bitter  as  the  sea,  which  is  thoroughly 
bitter  and  salt,  and  contains  not  one  drop  of  water  that 
is  sweet.  And  therefore  Isaias  justly  calls  Jesus  Christ 
a  Man  of  sorrows?  as  though  he  had  been  capable  on  this 
earth  of  nothing  but  anguish  and  sorrows.  St.  Thomas 
says  that  the  Redeemer  did  not  simply  take  on  himself 
sorrows,  but  that  "  He  endured  sorrow  in  its  highest 
degree;"4  whereby  he  would  signify  that  he  chose  to  be 
the  most  afflicted  man  that  had  ever  been  upon  earth, 
or  should  ever  be  hereafter. 

Yes,  because  this  Man  was  born  on  purpose  to  suffer, 
therefore  he  assumed  a  body  particularly  adapted  for  suf 
fering.  On  entering  the  womb  of  Mary,  as  the  Apostle 
tells  us,  he  said  to  his  Eternal  Father,  when  he  cometh 
in  to  the  world  he  saith,  Sacrifice  and  oblation  Thou  wouldst 
not;  but  a  body  Thou  hast  fitted  to  Me?  My  Father,  Thou 
hast  rejected  the  sacrifices  of  men,  because  they  were  not 

"  Quod  sufficiebat  redemption!,  non  sufficiebat  amori." 
"  Magna  est  enim  velut  mare  contritio  tua." — Lam.  ii.  13. 

3  "  Virum  dolorum." — Isa.  liii.  3. 
"Assumpsit  dolorem  in  summo." 

5  "  Hostiam  et  oblationem  noluisti,  corpus  autem  aptasti  mihi  "— 
Heb.  x.  5. 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Afflicted.    101 

able  to  satisfy  Thy  divine  justice  for  the  offences  com 
mitted  against  Thee  :  Thou  hast  given  me  a  body,  as  I 
requested  of  Thee  ;  a  body  delicate,  sensitive,  and  made 
purposely  for  suffering  ;  I  gladly  accept  of  this  body,  and 
I  offer  it  to  Thee  ;  because  by  enduring  in  this  body  all 
the  pains  which  will  accompany  me  through  my  life,  and 
shall  finally  cause  my  death  upon  the  cross,  I  purpose  to 
propitiate  Thee  towards  the  human  race,  and  thus  to 
gain  for  myself  the  love  of  mankind. 

And  behold  him  scarcely  entered  into  the  world,  when 
'he  already  begins  his  sacrifice  by  beginning  to  suffer; 
but  in  a  manner  far  different  from  that  in  which  men 
suffer.  Other  children,  while  remaining  in  the  womb  of 
their  mothers,  do  not  suffer,  because  they  are  only  in  their 
natural  place  ;  and  if  they  do  suffer  in  some  slight  degree, 
at  least  they  are  unconscious  of  what  they  feel,  since  they 
are  deprived  of  understanding;  but  Jesus,  while  an  in 
fant,  endures  for  nine  months  the  darkness  of  that  prison, 
endures  the  pain  of  not  being  able  to  move,  and  is  per 
fectly  alive  to  what  he  endures.  It  is  for  this  reason  that 
Jeremias  said,  A  woman  shall  compass  a  num.1  He  fore 
told  that  a  woman,  which  was  Mary,  should  bear  en 
closed  in  her  womb,  not  a  child  indeed,  but  a  man  ;  a 
child  truly  as  to  age  ;  but  a  perfect  man  as  to  the  use  of 
reason,  since  Jesus  Christ  was  full  of  wisdom  from  the 
first  instance  in  his  life  :  /;/  whom  are  hid  all  the  treasures 
of  wisdom  and  knowledge?  Whence  St.  Bernard  said, 
"  Jesus  was  a  man  while  not  yet  as  born,  but  in  wisdom, 
not  in  age."3  And*St.  Augustine,  "The  unspeakably 
Wise  was  in  his  wisdom  a  speechless  Infant."' 

1  "  Femina  circumdabit  virum." — Jer.  xxxi.  22. 
8  "In  quo  sunt  omnes  thesauri  sapientiae  et  scientiae  absconditi." — 
Col.  ii.  3. 

3  "  Vir  erat  Jesus  necdum  etiam  natus,  sed  sapientia,  non  setate." — 
De  Laud.  V.  M.  horn.  2. 

4  "Erat  ineffabiliter  sapiens,  sapienter  infans." — Serm,  187,  E,  B, 


102  Discourses  for  the  Novcna  of  Christmas. 

He  comes  forth,  then,  from  the  prison  of  his  mother's 
womb,  but  for  what  ?  is  it  perhaps  to  enjoy  himself?    He 
comes  forth  to  fresh  suffering,  for  he  chooseth  to  be  born 
in   the   depth   of  winter,  in   a  cavern,  where   beasts   find 
stabling,  and  at  the  hour  of  midnight  ;  and  he  is  born  in 
such  poverty  that  he  has  no  fire  to  warm  him,  nor  clothes 
enough   to  screen   him  from  the  cold.      "A  grand  pulpit 
is  that  manger,"1    says  St.  Thomas  of  Villanova.      Oh, 
how  well  does  Jesus  teach  us  the  love  of  suffering  in   the 
grotto  of  Bethlehem  !      "In  the  stable"  (adds  Salmeron) 
"all  is  vile  to  the  sight,  unpleasant  to  the  hearing,  offen 
sive  to   the  smell,    hard    and    revolting  to   the    touch."2 
Everything  in  the  stable  is  painful:  everything  is  painful 
to   the  sight,  for  one  sees  nothing  but  rugged  and  dark 
rocks  ;  everything  is  painful  to  the  hearing,  for  he  hears 
only  the  cries  of  brute  beasts;  everything  is  painful  to  the 
smell,   from    the    stench    of    the   litter    that   is   scattered 
around  ;  and  everything  is  painful   to  the  touch,  for  his 
cradle  is  only  a  narrow  manger,  and  his  bed  only  a  hand 
ful   of    straw.      Look    on    this    Infant  God,   how   he   lies 
bound   up  in   swaddling-clothes,  so  that  he  cannot  stir  : 
"  God  endures,"  said  St.  Zeno,  "  to  be  bound  in  swaddling- 
clothes,  because   he  had   come   to  pay  the  debts  of  the 
whole   world."       And  hereupon  St.  Augustine  remarks, 
"O  Blessed   rags,  with  which  we  wipe  away  the  filth  of 
sins  !'"       Observe  him  how  he  trembles  with  cold  ;  how 
he  weeps,  to    let  us  know  that  he  suffers,  and  offers   to 
the  Eternal  Father  those   first   tears   to  release  us  from 
that  endless  wailing  which  we  had  deserved  !     "  Blessed 

"  Magna  cathedra,  praesepium  illud." — In  ATat.  D.  cone.  i. 

"  In  praesepe,  omnia  sunt  vilia  visui,  ingrata  auditui,  olfactui  mo- 
lesta,  tactui  dura  et  aspera." — 7\  ii.  tr.  33. 

"Patitur  Deus  se  pannis  alligari,  qui  totius  mundi  debita  venerat 
soluturus." — De  ATat.  Chr.  s.  3. 

"  O  felices  panni,  quibus  peccatorum  sordes  extersimus!" S   no 

E.  B.  app. 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Afflicted.    1 03 

tears,"  says  St.  Thomas  of  Villanova,  "  which  blot  out 
our  iniquities?"1  O  tears  for  us  most  blessed,  since 
they  obtain  for  us  the  pardon  of  our  sins! 

And  thus  did  the  life  of  Jesus  Christ  continue  always 
in  afBiction  and  sorrow.  But  a  short  time  after  he  was 
born  he  was  obliged  to  fly  as  an  exile,  and  wander  into 
Egypt  to  escape  out  of  the  hands  of  Herod.  Then,  in 
that  barbarous  country  he  passed  many  years  of  his 
childhood  poor  and  unknown.  Nor  was  the  life  which 
he  led  on  his  return  from  Egypt,  dwelling  at  Nazareth, 
very  different  up  to  the  time  when  he  received  death 
from  the  hands  of  the  executioner  on  the  cross  in  a  sea 
of  sorrows  and  infamy. 

'.'  But,  besides,  we  must  also  well  understand  here  that 
the  pains  which  Jesus  Christ  endured  in  his  Passion,  the 
scourging,  the  crowning  with  thorns,  the  crucifixion,  his 
agony,  death,  and  all  the  'other  torments,  and  ignominies 
which  he  suffered  at  the  end  of  his  life,  he  also  suffered 
at  the  beginning  ;  because  from  the  beginning  he  had 
always  before  his  eyes  the  sad  scene  of  all  the  torments 
which  he  would  have  to  suffer  when  about  to  leave  this 
earth,  as  he  predicted  by  the  mouth  of  David  :  My  sorrow 
is  continually  before  me?  We  hide  from  the  sick  man  the 
knife  or  the  fire  with  which  he  is  to  be  cut  or  cauterized 
in  order  to  regain  his  health  ;  but  Jesus  would  not  have 
the  instruments  of  his  Passion,  by  which  he  was  to  lose 
his  life,  that  he  might  gain  for  us  eternal  life,  hidden 
from  his  sight  ;  he  desired  always  to  have  before  his  eyes 
the  scourge,  the  thorns,  the  nails,  the  cross,  which  were 
to  drain  all  the  blood  from  his  veins,  till  he  died  of  pure 
grief,  deprived  of  all  consolation. 

One  day  Jesus  Christ  appeared  to  Sister  Magdalene 
Orsini,  who  had  been  suffering  a  heavy  affliction  fora  long 

1  "  Felices  lacrymae,  quibus  nostra  abluuntur  crimina." — In  Nat.  D. 
cone.  i. 

2  "  Dolor  meus  in  conspectu  meo  semper." — Ps.  xxxvii.  18. 


1 04  Discotcrses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

time,  under  the  form  of  a  crucifix,  to  comfort  her  by  the 
remembrance  of  his  Passion,  and  to  animate  her  to  bear 
her  cross  with  patience.  She  said  to  him  :  "But  Thou, 
my  Lord,  wast  only  three  hours  on  the  cross,  while  I  have 
suffered  this  pain  for  many  years."  Then  our  Lord  from 
the  cross  replied  :  "  Ignorant  creature  that  Thou  art  ! 
from  the  first  moment  that  I  was  in  the  womb  of  Mary  I 
suffered  all  that  I  had  afterwards  to  suffer  in  my  death." 
"  Christ,"  says  Novarinus,  "  even  in  the  womb  of  his 
mother,  had  the  impression  of  the  cross  on  his  mind  ;  so 
that  no  sooner  was  he  born  than  he  might  be  said  to  have 
the  principality  on  his  shoulders."1  So,  then,  My  Re 
deemer,  throughout  Thy  whole  life  I  shall  find  Thee  no 
where  but  on  the  cross  :  "  Lord,  I  find  Thee  nowhere  but 
on  the  cross,"  said  Dragone  Ostiense.  Yes,  for  the  cross 
on  which  Jesus  Christ  died  was  ever  in  his  mind  to  tor 
ment  him.  Even  whilst  sleeping,  says  Bellarmine,  the 
sight  of  the  cross  was  present  to  the  heart  of  Jesus  : 
"Christ  had  his  cross  always  before  his  eyes.  When  he 
slept,  his  heart  watched  ;  nor  was  it  ever  free  from  the 
sight  of  the  cross." 

But  it  was  not  so  much  the  sorrows  of  his  Passion 
which  saddened  and  embittered  the  life  of  our  Redeemer, 
as  the  sight  of  all  the  sins  which  men  would  commit 
after  his  death.  These  were  the  cruel  executioners  which 
made  him  live  in  continual  agony,  oppressed  by  such  an 
overwhelming  grief  that  pain  alone  would  have  been 
enough  to  make  him  die  of  pure  sorrow.  Father  Lessius 
says  that  the  sight  alone  of  the  ingratitude  of  mankind 
would  have  been  sufficient  to  make  Jesus  Christ  die  of 
grief  a  thousand  times. 

The  scourges,  the  cross,  death  itself,  were  not  hateful 
objects  to  him,  but  most  dear,  chosen,  and  desired  by 

1  "  Christus  crucem  etiam  in  ventre  Matris  menti  impressam  habuit, 
adeo  ut  vix  natus  principatum  super  humerum  (Isa.  ix.  6)  habere 
dicatur." — Umb.  Virg.  c.  II,  exc.  38. 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Afflicted.    105 

himself.  He  had  offered  himself  spontaneously  to  suffer 
them:  He  was  offered  because  it  was  His  own  will.1  He 
did  not  give  his  life  against  his  will,  but  by  his  own  elec 
tion,  as  he  tells  us  by  St.  John:  I  lay  down  My  life  for 
My  sheep*  This  was  indeed  the  chief  desire  of  his  whole 
life,  that  the  time  of  his  Passion  should  arrive,  that  the 
redemption  of  mankind  might  be  completed;  for  this 
reason  he  said  on  the  night  preceding  his  death:  With 
desire  I  have  desired  to  eat  this  pasch  with  you  before  I 
suffer?  And  before  this  time  arrived  he  seemed  to  con 
sole  himself  by  saying,  I  have  a  baptism,  wherewith  I  am 
to  be  baptized;  and  how  am  I  straitened  until  it  be  accom 
plished!  4  I  must  be  baptized  with  the  baptism  of  my 
own  blood  ;  not  indeed  to  wash  my  own  soul,  but  those 
of  my  sheep,  from  the  stains  of  their  sin  ;  and  how  ar 
dently  do  I  desire  the  arrival  of  the  hour  when  I  shall  be 
bleeding  and  dead  on  the  cross  !  St.  Ambrose  says  that 
the  Redeemer  was  not  afflicted  by  the  fear  of  death,  but 
by  the  delay  of  our  redemption:  "Not  from  the  fear  of 
his  death,  but  from  the  d^lay  of  our  redemption."  ' 

In  a  sermon  on  the  Passion,  St.  Zeno  describes  Jesus 
Christ  choosing  for  himself  the  trade  of  a  carpenter  in 
this  world;  for  as  such  was  he  known  and  called:  Is  not 
this  the  carpenter,  and  the  son  of  a  carpenter  ?  6  Because 
carpenters  are  always  handling  wood  and  nails,  it  would 
seem  that  Jesus  exercising  this  trade  took  pleasure  in  such 
things,  seeing  that  they  represented  to  him  better  than 
anything  else  the  nails  and  the  cross  by  which  he  willed 

1  "  Oblatus  est.  quiaipse  voluit." — Isa.  liii.  7. 

'J  "  Animam  meam  pono  pro  ovibus  meis." — John,  x.  15. 

3  "  Desiderio  desideravi  hoc  Pascha  manducare  vobiscum." — Luke, 
xxii.   15. 

4  "  Baptismo  autem  habeo  baptizari  ;  et  quomodo  coarctor   usque 
dum  perficiatur!" — Litke,  xii.  50 

6  "Non  ex  metu  mortis  suse,  sed  ex  mora  nostrae  redemptionis." — 
In  Luc.  xii. 

6  "  Nonne  hie  est  faber, — fabri  filius  ?" — Mark,  vi.  3;  Matt.  xiii.  55. 


io6  Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

to  suffer:  "  The  Son  of  God  took  delight  in  this  work,  in 
which  the  wood  and  the  nails  continually  reminded  him 
of  the  cross  that  awaited  him."1 

Thus  (to  return  to  the  point)  we  see  it  was  not  so  much 
the  thought  of  his  Passion  that  afflicted  the  heart  of  our 
Redeemer,  as  the  ingratitude  with  which  mankind  would 
repay  his  love.  It  was  this  ingratitude  which  made  him 
weep  in  the  stable  of  Bethlehem;  which  caused  him  to 
sweat  blood  in  his  deadly  agony  in  the  garden  of  Geth- 
semane;  which  filled  him  with  such  sorrow  that  he  says 
even  that  it  alone  was  sufficient  to  make  him  die:  My 
soul  is  sorrow/ uneven  to  death?  and,  finally,  this  ingratitude 
it  was  which  caused  him  to  die  in  desolation  and  de 
prived  of  all  consolation  on  the  cross;  for,  says  F.  Suarez, 
Jesus  Christ  wished  rather  to  satisfy  for  the  pain  of  loss 
due  to  man  than  for  the  pain  of  sense.3  Therefore  the 
pains  which  our  Lord  suffered  in  his  soul  were  much 
greater  than  all  those  he  suffered  in  his  body. 

II.. 

We  then,  also,  by  our  sins  contributed  to  make  the 
whole  life  of  our  Saviour  embittered  and  afflicted.  But 
let  us  thank  his  goodness  in  giving  us  time  to  remedy 
the  evil  which  has  been  done. 

How,  then,  are  we  to  remedy  it  ?  By  bearing  patiently 
all  the  crosses  which  he  sends  us  for  our  good.  And  he 
himself  tells  us  how  we  can  bear  these  troubles  with  pa 
tience:  Put  me  as  a  seal  upon  thy  heart."  Put  upon  thy 
heart  the  image  of  me  crucified;  which  means  to  say, 
consider  my  example  and  the  pains  which  I  have  suffered 
for  thee,  and  so  shalt  thou  bear  all  crosses  in  peace. 

"  Dei  Filius  illis  delectabatur  operibus,  quibus  lignorum  segmentis 
et  clavis  sibi  ssepe  futurae  crucis  imago  prseformabatur." 

2  "  Tristis  est  anima  mea  usque  ad  mortem." — Matt.  xxvi.  38. 

3  "  Principalius  Christus  satisfecit  pro  poena  damni,  quam  sensus." 

4  "  Pone  me  ut  signaculum  super  cor  tuum." — Cant.  viii.  6. 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Afflicted.    107 

St.  Augustine  says  that  this  heavenly  physician  made 
himself  weak,  that  he  might  heal  our  weakness  by  his 
own  infirmity:  "Wondrous  medicine!  the  physician 
deigns  to  become  sick,  to  heal  his  patient  by  his  own  in 
firmity,"  ]  according  to  that  which  Isaias  says,  By  His 
bruises  we  are  healed?  To  heal  our  souls,  which  are  weak 
ened  by  sin,  this  medicine  of  suffering  was  the  only  one 
necessary;  and  Jesus  Christ  desired  to  be  the  first  to  taste 
it,  that  we  who  are  the  true  sinners  should  not  refuse  to 
take  it  also:  "The  physician  drinks  first,  that  the  sick 
man  may  not  hesitate  to  drink  also."  ; 

Believing  this,  says  St.  Epiphanius,  as  true  followers 
of  Jesus  Christ,  we  ought  to  thank  him  when  he  sends 
us  crosses:  "  It  is  a  virtue  peculiar  to  a  Christian  to  give 
thanks  when  in  adversity."  4  And  this  is  reasonable,  be 
cause  by  sending  us  crosses  he  makes  us  like  to  himself. 
St.  John  Chrysostom  makes  an  observation  which  is  very 
consoling;  he  says  that  when  we  thank  God  for  his  bene 
fits,  we  do  but  give  him  that  which  we  owe  him;  but 
that  when  we  suffer  some  pain  with  patience  for  his  love, 
then  God  in  a  certain  way  becomes  our  debtor:  "  If  you 
thank  God  for  good  things,  you  pay  a  debt;  if  you  thank 
him  for  evil  things,  you  make  him  your  debtor."  ' 

If  thou  wouldst  render  love  to  Jesus  Christ,  says  St. 
Bernard,  learn  from  him  how  thou  must  love  him: 
"  Learn  from  Christ  how  to  love  Christ."  '  Be  happy 

1  "  Mirabile  genus  medicinae  !     Medicus  voluit  segrotare,  et  aegrotos 
sua  infirmitate  sanare." — Serm.  247,  E.  B.  app. 

2  "Et  livore  ejus  sanati  sumus." — ha.  liii.  5. 

3  "  Prior  bibit  Medicus  sanus,  ut  bibere  non   dubitaret  asgrotus."- 
Serm.  88,  E.  B. 

4  "  Christianorum  propria  virtus  est,  etiam  in  adversis,  referre  gra- 
tias." 

5  "In  bonis  gratias  agens,  reddidisti  debitum;  in  mails,  Deum  red- 
didisti  debitorem." — In  Ps.  ix. 

6  "  Disce  a  Christo,  quemadmodum  diligas  Christum." — In  Cant.  s. 


io8  Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

to  suffer  something  for  that  God  who  has  suffered  so 
much  for  thee.  The  desire  of  pleasing  Jesus  Christ,  and 
of  making  known  to  him  the  love  they  bore  him,  was  that 
which  rendered  the  saints  hungry  and  thirsty,  not  for 
honors  and  pleasures,  but  for  sufferings  and  contempt. 
This  made  the  Apostle  say,  God  forbid  that  I  should  glory, 
save  in  the  cross  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ.1  Being  a  happy 
companion  of  his  crucified  God,  he  desired  no  other  glory 
than  that  of  seeing  himself  on  the  cross.  This  was  also 
what  made  St.  Teresa  say,  "  Either  to  suffer  or  to  die;"  2 
as  if  she  had  said,  My  Spouse,  if  it  is  Thy  will  to  draw 
me  to  Thyself  by  death,  behold  I  am  ready  to  come,  and 
I  thank  Thee  for  it;  but  if  Thou  wilt  leave  me  any  longer 
on  this  earth,  I  cannot  trust  myself  to  remain  without 
suffering:  ''Either  to  suffer  or  to  die."  It  was  this  that 
made  St.  Mary  Magdalene  of  Pazzi  go  still  farther:  "To 
suffer,  and  not  to  die;"  by  which  she  meant,  My  Jesus,  I 
desire  to  be  in  heaven,  that  I  may  love  Thee  more;  but 
I  desire  still  more  to  suffer,  that  I  may  repay  in  part  the 
love  which  Thou  hast  shown  towards  me  by  suffering  so 
much  for  me.  And  the  Venerable  Sister  Mary  of  Jesus 
Crucified,  a  Sicilian  nun,  was  so  enamoured  of  suffer 
ings  that  she  went  so  far  as  to  say,  u  Truly  Paradise  is 
beautiful;  but  one  thing  is  wanting,  because  there  there 
is  no  suffering."  For  the  same  reason  also  St.  John 
of  the  Cross,  when  Jesus  appeared  to  him  with  his  cross 
on  his  shoulders,  and  said  to  him,  John,  ask  what  thou 
wilt  of  me,  would  ask  for  nothing  but  sufferings  and 
Contempt:  "Lord,  that  I  may  suffer  and  be  despised  for 
Thy  sake." 

If,  then,  we  have  not  the  strength  to  desire  and  seek  for 
sufferings,  let  us  at  least  try  to  accept  with  patience 
those  tribulations  which  God  sends  us  for  our  good: 

"  Mihi   autem   absit   gloriari,    nisi  in  cruce  Domini  nostri  Jesu 
Christi." — Gal.  vi.  14. 

"  Domine  !  pati  et  contemni  pro  te." 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Afflicted.    109 

"  Where  there  is  patience,  there  is  God,"  '  says  Tertul- 
lian.  Where  is  God  ?  Give  me  a  soul  that  suffers  with 
resignation,  there  assuredly  is  God:  The  Lord  is  nigh  unto 
them  that  are  of  a  contrite  heart?  The  Lord  takes  delight 
in  being  near  to  those  that  are  in  affliction.  But  what 
kind  of  afflicted  people  ?  it  must  be  those  who  suffer  in 
peace,  and  are  resigned  to  the  divine  will.  To  such  as 
these  God  gives  true  peace,  which  consists,  as  St.  Leo 
says,  in  uniting  our  will  to  the  will  of  God:  "True 
Christian  peace  consists  in  not  being  separated  from  the 
will  of  God."  3  St.  Bonaventure  tells  us  that  the  divine 
will  is  like  honey,  which  makes  even  bitter  things  sweet 
and  pleasant.  The  reason  is  this,  that  he  who  obtains 
all  that  he  wishes  has  nothing  left  to  desire:  "  Blessed  is 
he  who  has  everything  he  desires,"  4  says  St.  Augustine. 
Therefore  he  who  wills  nothing  but  what  God  wills  is 
always  happy;  for,  as  everything  happens  by  the  will  of 
God,  the  soul  has  always  that  which  it  wills. 

And  when  God  sends  us  crosses,  not  only  let  us  be 
resigned,  but  let  us  also  thank  him,  since  it  is  a  sign  that 
he  means  to  pardon  our  sins,  and  save  us  from  hell, 
which  we  have  deserved.  He  who  has  offended  God 
must  be  punished;  and  therefore  we  ought  always  to 
beg  of  him  to  chastise  us  in  this  world,  and  not  in  the 
next.  That  sinner  is  to  be  pitied  who  does  not  receive 
his  chastisement  in  this  life,  but,  on  the  contrary,  is  pros 
perous.  May  God  preserve  us  from  that  mercy  of  which 
Isaias  speaks:  Let  us  have  pity  on  the  wicked!"  "  I  do  not 
want  this  mercy,"  says  St.  Bernard;  "such  pity  is  worse 

1  "  Ubi  Deus,  ibidem  et  patientia." — De  Patient. 

'2  "  Juxta  est  Dominus  iis  qui  tribulato  sunt  corde." — Ps.  xxxiii.  19. 

3  "  Christiano  vera  pax  est  a  Dei   voluntate  non  dividi." — In  Nat. 
D.  s.  9. 

4  "  Beatus  est,  qui    habet  omnia  quse  vult,  et  nihil  vult   male." — De 
Trin.  1.  13,  c.  5. 

6  "  Misereamur  impio  !" — ha.  xxvi.  10. 


1 10  Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

than  any  anger."  The  prayer  of  the  saint  was,  Lord,  I 
desire  not  this  mercy;  for  it  is  more  terrible  than  any 
chastisement.  When  God  does  not  punish  a  sinner  in 
this  life,  it  is  a  sign  that  he  waits  to  punish  him  in  eter 
nity,  where  the  punishment  will  have  no  end.  St.  Lau 
rence  Justinian  says: 

"  From  the  price  thy  Redeemer  had  to  pay,  learn  ^the 
value  of  his  gifts  and  the  gravity  of  thy  sin."  "•  When  we 
see  a  God  dead  on  the  cross,  we  ought  to  consider  the 
great  gift  which  he  has  made  us  in  giving  us  his  blood 
to  redeem  us  from  hell,  and  at  the  same  time  to  under 
stand  the  malice  of  sin,  which  made  the  death  of  a  God 
necessary  to  obtain  pardon  for  us:  "Nothing,"  says 
Dragone,  "frightens  me  away  from  sin  so  strongly  as  the 
sight  of  Thy  Son  suffering  so  exceedingly  cruel  a  death 
as  its  penalty."  O  eternal  God  !  nothing  terrifies  me 
more  than  to  see  Thy  Son  punished  by  so  cruel  a  death 
on  account  of  sin. 

Let  us  therefore  be  comforted,  when  we  see  ourselves 
afflicted  by  God  for  our  sins  in  this  world;  for  it  is  a  sign 
that  he  will  show  mercy  to  us  in  the  next.  The  thought 
alone  of  having  displeased  so  good  a  God,  if  we  love  him, 
ought  to  be  of  more  consolation  to  us  when  we  see  our 
selves  chastised  and  afflicted,  than  if  we  were  prosper 
ous,  and  filled  with  the  consolations  of  this  world.  St. 
John  Chrysostom  says,  "  If  a  man  loves  God,  he  will 
have  more  consolation  in  being  punished  for  having  of 
fended  so  merciful  a  Lord  than  if  he  were  to  escape  un 
punished."'  Any  one  who  loves  another  (continues  the 

"  Misericordiam  hanc  nolo;  super  omnem  iram  miseratio  ista." 

In  Cant.  s.  42. 

"  De  pretio  erogato,  Redemptoris  tui  agnosce  munus  tuzeque  pra- 
varicationis  pondus. " 

"  Nihil  ita  me  deterret,  sicut  videre  Filium  tuum  propter  peccatum 
crudelissima  morte  mulctatum." 

"Major  consolatio  erit  ei  qui  punitur,  si  amet  Dominum,  post- 
quam  exacerbavit  tam  misericordem,  quam  ei  qui  non  punitur." 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Jlimself  Afflicted.    1 1 1 

saint)  is  more  punished  in  thinking  that  he  has  grieved 
the  person  whom  he  loves  than  at  the  punishment  he  re 
ceives  for  his  crime. 

Let  us,  then,  be  consoled  when  we  are  suffering;  and 
if  these  reflections  are  not  sufficient  to  console  us,  let  us 
go  to  Jesus  Christ,  and  he  will  console  us,  as  he  has 
promised  to  all:  Come  to  Me,  all  you  that  labor  and  are  bur 
dened,  and  I  will  refresh  you.1  When  we  have  recourse  to 
our  Lord,  he  will  either  deliver  us  from  our  affliction,  or 
will  give  us  strength  to  bear  it  patiently.  And  this  is  a 
greater  grace  than  the  former;  because  the  tribulations 
which  we  bear  with  resignation,  not  only  enable  us  to 
satisfy  in  this  life  for  our  debts,  but  also  merit  for  us 
greater  glory  eternally  in  Paradise. 

Let  us  also,  when  we  are  afflicted  and  in  sorrow,  go 
and  seek  Mary,  who  is  called  the  Mother  of  mercy,  the 
cause  of  our  joy,  the  comfort  of  the  afflicted.  Let  us  go 
to  this  good  Lady,  who,  as  Lanspergius  says,  never  lets 
any  one  depart  from  her  unconsoled  and  in  sadness: 
"  She  holds  the  bosom  of  her  compassion  open  to  all; 
she  permits  no  one  to  depart  from  her  in  sorrow."  St. 
Bonaventure  says  that  it  is  her  office  to  compassionate 
those  who  are  in  trouble:  "  To  thee  is  the  office  of  mercy 
committed."3  Whence  Richard  of  St.  Laurence  subjoins 
that  he  who  invokes  her  will  always  find  her  ready  to 
assist  him.4  "And  who  has  ever  sought  thy  aid  in  vain  ? 
Who,  O  blessed  one,  ever  asked  thy  assistance  and  was 
neglected  ?"  5 

1  "  Venite  ad  me  omnes,  qui  laboratis  et  onerati  estis,  et  ego  refi- 
ciam  vos." — Matt.  xi.  28. 

2  "Omnibus  pietatis   sinum   apertum   tenet,  neminem   a  se   redire 
tristem  sinit  "—  Alloq.  1.  i,  can.  12. 

3  "  Tibi  miserendi  est  officium  commissum." — Stint,  div.  am.  p.  3, 
c.  19. 

4  "  Inveniet  semper  paratam  auxiliari." — De  Laud.  B.  M.  1.  2,  p.  I. 

5  "Quis,  O  Domina  !  tuam  rogavit  opem,et  fuitunquam  derelictus?' 
—  Vit.  S.    Theoph.  ap.  Sur.  4  febr. 


1 12  Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 


Affections  and  Prayers. 

St.  Mary  Magdalene  of  Pazzi  ordered  two  nuns,  over  whom 
she  was  Superior,  to  remain  at  the  feet  of  the  Holy  Infant  dur 
ing  the  time  of  the  Nativity,  and  there  to  imitate  the  service 
done  to  him  by  the  animals  in  the  stable  ;  that  is,  that  they 
should  cherish  the  poor  shivering  Infant  by  the  warmth  of  their 
praises,  their  thanksgivings  and  sighs  of  love  which  they  were 
to  pour  out  from  their  burning  hearts.  O  my  dear  Redeemer, 
would  that  I  also  could  fulfil  that  office !  Yes,  I  praise  Thee, 
my  Jesus,  I  praise  Thine  infinite  mercy,  I  praise  Thine  infinite 
charity,  which  makes  Thee  glorious  both  in  heaven  and  earth  ; 
and  I  unite  my  voice  to  that  of  the  Angel  :  Glory  to  God  in  the 
highest.^  I  thank  Thee  in  the  name  of  all  mankind  ;  but  I 
thank  Thee  especially  for  myself,  a  miserable  sinner.  What 
would  have  become  of  me,  what  hope  could  I  have  of  pardon 
and  salvation,  if  Thou,  my  Saviour,  hadst  not  come  down  from 
heaven  to  save  me  ?  I  praise  Thee,  then,  I  thank  Thee,  and  I 
love  Thee.  I  love  Thee  above  all  things,  I  love  Thee  more 
than  myself,  I  love  Thee  with  all  my  soul,  and  I  give  myself  all 
to  Thee.  Receive,  O  Sacred  Infant,  these  acts  of  love  ;  if  they 
are  but  cold,  because  coming  from  a  frozen  heart,  do  Thou  in 
flame  this  poor  heart  of  mine  ;  a  heart  that  has  offended  Thee, 
but  is  now  penitent.  Yes,  my  Lord,  I  repent  above  all  things 
for  having  despised  Thee  who  hast  loved  me  so  much.  Now  I 
desire  nothing  but  to  love  Thee;  and  this  only  do  I  beg  of 
Thee  :  give  me  Thy  love,  and  do  with  me  what  Thou  wilt.  I 
was  once  a  slave  of  hell ;  but  now  that  I  am  free  from  those 
unhappy  chains,  I  consecrate  myself  entirely  to  Thee ;  I  give 
Thee  my  body,  my  goods,  my  life,  my  soul,  my  will,  and  my 
whole  liberty.  I  desire  no  longer  to  belong  to  myself,  but  only 
to  Thee,  my  only  good.  Ah,  bind  my  heart  to  Thy  feet,  that  it 
may  no  more  stray  from  Thee.  O  most  holy  Mary !  obtain  for 
me  the  grace  of  living  always  bound  to  thy  Son  by  the  blessed 
chains  of  love.  Tell  him  to  accept  me  as  the  slave  of  his  love. 
He  grants  all  that  you  ask.  Pray  to  him,  pray  to  him,  for  me. 
This  is  my  hope. 

1  "  Gloria  in  altissimis  Deo  !" — Luke,  ii.  14. 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Poor.    1 1 3 


DISCOURSE  VIII. 
The  Eternal  Word  from  being  Rich  made  Himself  Poor. 

Excutcre  de  puh'ere,  consurge,  sede,  Jerusalem. 
"  Shake  thyself  from  the  dust ;  arise,  sit  up,  O  Jerusalem."— Is.  lii.  2. 

Arise,  Christian  soul,  says  the  Prophet,  shake  off  the 
dust  of  earthly  affections:  Shake  thyself  from  the  dust;1 
arise;  '  arise  from  the  mire  in  which  thou  art  lying  in 
misery,  and  sit  up:  Sit  up,  O  Jerusalem,'  sit  as  a  queen, 
and  rule  over  those  passions  which  would  deprive  thee 
of  eternal  glory,  and  which  expose  thee  to  the  danger  of 
everlasting  destruction. 

But  to  attain  this,  what  must  the  soul  do?  It  must 
study  and  consider  well  the  life  of  Jesus  Christ,  who, 
from  being  rich,  as  possessing  all  the  riches  of  heaven 
and  earth,  made  himself  poor,  despising  all  the  goods  of 
the  world.  It  is  impossible  for  any  one  to  think  of  Jesus 
having  become  poor  for  his  sake,  and  not  at  the  same 
time  to  be  moved  to  despise  all  for  the  love  of  him.  Let 
us  so  consider  him,  and  for  this  let  us  implore  Jesus  and 
Mary  to  enlighten  us. 


Everything  that  is  in  heaven  and  on  earth  is  God's. 
The  world  is  mine,  and  the  fulness  thereof."  But  even  this 
is  little;  heaven  and  earth  are  but  the  least  portion  of 
the  riches  of  God.  The  riches  of  God  are  infinite,  and 
can  never  fail,  because  his  riches  do  not  depend  on 
others,  but  he,  who  is  the  Infinite  Good,  possesses  them 
himself.  Therefore  it  was  that  David  said:  Thou  art  my 

1  "Excutere  de  pulvere." 
*  "  Consurge." 

3  "  Sede,  Jerusalem." 

4  "  Meus  est  enim  orbis  terrse,  et  plenitude  ejus."— Ps.  xlix.  12. 


i  14  Discourses  for  tJie  Novena  of  Christmas. 

God,  for  Thou  hast  no  need  of  my  goods.1  ISTow  this  God, 
who  is  so  rich,  made  himself  poor  by  becoming  man, 
that  he  might  thereby  make  us  poor  sinners  rich:  Being 
rich,  He  became  poor  for  your  sakes;  that  through  his  poverty 
you  might  be  rich. 2 

What  !  a  God  become  poor  ?  And  why  ?  Let  us 
understand  the  reason.  The  riches  of  this  world  can  be 
nothing  but  dust  and  mire;  but  it  is  mire  that  so  com 
pletely  blinds  men  that  they  can  no  longer  see  which 
are  the  true  riches.  Before  the  coming  of  Jesus  Christ, 
the  world  was  full  of  darkness,  because  it  was  full  of  sin: 
All  flesh  had  corrupted  its  way  upon  the  earth?  Mankind 
had  corrupted  the  law  and  reason,  so  that,  living  like 
brutes,  intent  only  on  acquiring  the  riches  and  pleasures 
of  this  world,  they  cared  no  more  for  the  riches  of  eter 
nity.  But  the  divine  mercy  ordained  that  the  very  Son 
of  God  himself  should  come  down  to  enlighten  these 
blind  creatures:  To  them  that  dwelt  in  the  region  of  the 
shadow  of  death  light  is  risen* 

Jesus  was  called  the  Light  of  the  Gentiles:  A  Light  for 
the  revelation  of  the  Gentiles?  The  light  shineth  in  dark 
ness?  Thus  did  the  Lord  from  the  first  promise  to  be 
himself  our  Master,  and  a  Master  who  should  be  seen 
by  us;  who  should  teach  us  the  way  of  salvation,  which 
consists  in  the  practice  of  all  the  virtues,  and  especially 
that  of  holy  poverty:  And  thy  eyes  shall  see  thy  Teacher? 

1  "Deus  meus  es  tu,  quoniam  bonorum  meorum  non  eges." — Ps. 
xv.  2. 

2  "  Egenus  factus  est,  cum  esset  dives,  ut  illius  inopia  vos  divites 
essetis." — 2  Cor.  viii.  9. 

3  "Omnis  quippe  caro  corruperat  viam  suam." — Gen.  vi.  12. 

4  "  Habitantibus   in    regione    umbrae    mortis,  lux  orta  est    eis." — 
Isa.  ix.  2. 

5  "  Lumen  ad  revelationem  gentium." — Luke,  ii.  32. 

6  "  Lux  in  tenebris  lucet,  .  .   .  quas  illuminat  omnem  hominem." — 
John,  i.  5. 

7  "  Et  erunt  ocu'.i  tui  videntes  Praeceptorem  tuum." — Isa.  xxx.  20. 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Poor.    1 1 5 

Moreover,  this  Master  was  not  only  to  teach  us  by  his 
words;  but  still  more  by  the  example  of  his  life. 

St.  Bernard  says  that  poverty  was  not  to  be  found  in 
heaven,  it  existed  only  on  earth;  but  that  man,  not  know 
ing  its  value,  did  not  seek  after  it.  Therefore  the  Son 
of  God  came  down  from  heaven  to  this  earth,  and  chose 
it  for  his  companion  throughout  his  whole  life,  that  by 
his  example  he  might  also  render  it  precious  and  desira 
ble  to  us:  "Poverty  was  not  found  in  heaven,  but  she 
was  well  known  on  earth,  and  men  knew  not  her  excel 
lence.  So  the  Son  of  God  loved  her,  and  came  down 
from  heaven  to  take  her  to  himself,  that  we  might  learn 
to  value  her  when  we  see  how  he  regards  her."  And  be 
hold  our  Redeemer  as  an  Infant,  who  at  the  very  begin 
ning  of  his  life  made  himself  a  teacher  of  poverty  in  the 
cave  of  Bethlehem;  which  is  expressly  called  by  the  same 
St.  Bernard,  u  the  School  of  Christ,"  2  and  by  St.  Augus 
tine  "the  Grotto  of  Doctrine." 

For  this  end  was  it  decreed  by  God  that  the  edict  of 
Caesar  should  come  forth;  namely,  that  his  Son  should 
not  only  be  born  poor,  but  the  poorest  of  men,  causing 
him  to  be  born  away  from  his  own  house,  in  a  cave 
which  was  inhabited  only  by  animals.  Other  poor  peo 
ple,  who  are  born  in  their  own  houses,  have  certainly 
more  comforts  in  the  way  of  clothes,  of  fire,  and  the  as 
sistance  of  persons  who  lend  their  aid,  even  if  it  is  out 
of  compassion.  What  son  of  a  poor  person  was  ever 
born  in  a  stable  ?  In  a  stable  only  beasts  are  born.  St. 
Luke  relates  how  it  happened.  The  time  being  come 
that  Mary  was  to  be  delivered,  Joseph  goes  to  seek 

1  "  Paupertas  non  inveniebatur  in  coelis  ;  porro  in  terris  abundabat, 
et  nesciebat  homo  pretium  ejus.  Hanc  itaque  Dei  Filius  concupis- 
cens  descendit,  ut  earn  eligat  sibi,  et  nobis  sua  aestimatione  faciat 
pretiosam." — In  Vig,  Nat.  s.  I. 

8  "Schola  Christi." 

3  "  Spelunca  magistra." 


n6  Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

some  lodging  for  her  in  Bethlehem.  He  goes  about  and 
inquires  at  every  house,  and  he  finds  none.  He  tries  to 
find  one  in  an  inn,  but  neither  there  does  he  find  any: 
There  was  no  room  for  them  in  the  inn.1  So  that  Mary  was 
obliged  to  take  shelter  and  bring  forth  her  Son  in  that 
cave  where,  notwithstanding  all  the  concourse  of  people, 
there  was  no  one;  there  were  only  two  animals.  When  the 
sons  of  princes  are  born,  they  have  warm  rooms  prepared 
for  them,  adorned  with  hangings,  silver  cradles,  the  finest 
clothes,  and  they  are  waited  on  by  the  highest  nobles 
and  ladies  of  the  kingdom.  The  King  of  heaven,  instead 
of  a  warm  and  beautiful  room,  has  nothing  but  a  cold 
grotto,  whose  only  ornament  is  the  grass  that  grows 
there;  instead  of  a  bed  of  feathers,  he  has  nothing  but  a 
little  hard  sharp  straw;  instead  of  fine  garments,  he 
has  but  a  few  poor  rough  cold  and  damp  rags:  "  The 
Creator  of  Angels"  (writes  St.  Peter  Damian)  "  is  not 
said  to  have  been  clad  in  purple,  but  to  have  been 
wrapped  in  rags.  Let  worldly  pride  blush  at  the  re 
splendent  humility  of  the  Saviour."2  Instead  of  a  fire, 
and  of  the  attendance  of  great  people,  he  has  but  the  warm 
breath  and  the  company  of  two  animals;  finally,  in  place 
of  the  silver  cradle,  he  must  lie  in  a  vile  manger.  What 
is  this,  said  St.  Gregory  of  Nyssa,  the  King  of  kings, 
who  fills  heaven  and  earth  with  his  presence,  finds  no 
better  place  to  be  born  in  than  a  stable  for  beasts  ? 
"He  who  encompasses  all  things  in  his  embrace  is  laid 
in  the  manger  of  brute  cattle."3  Yes,  for  this  King  of 
kings  for  our  sake  wished  to  be  poor,  and  the  poorest  of 
all.  Even  the  children  of  the  poor  have  milk  enough 

"  Non  erat  eis  locus  in  dlversorio." — Luke,  ii.  7. 
2  "Condiror  Angelorum,  non  ostro  obsitus,  sed  vilibus  legitur  pan- 
niculis  obvolutus:   erubescat  terrena  superbia,  ubi  coruscat  humilitas 
Redemptoris  \"—De  Vest.  eccl.  c.  2. 

"  Qui  complexu  suo   ambit  omnia,  in  brutorum  praesepe  reclina- 
ur  !" — De  Beatit.  or.  I. 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Poor,    i  i  7 

provided  for  them,  but  Jesus  Christ  wished  to  be  poor 
even  in  this;  for  the  milk  of  Mary  was  miraculous,  and 
she  received  it  not  naturally,  but  from  heaven,  as  the 
holy  Church  teaches  us:  "The  Virgin  gave  him  milk 
from  a  breast  filled  from  heaven."1  And  God,  in  order 
to  comply  with  the  desire  of  his  Son,  who  wished  to  be 
poor  in  everything,  did  not  provide  Mary  with  milk  in 
abundance,  but  only  with  as  much  as  would  barely  suf 
fice  to  sustain  the  life  of  his  Son;  whence  the  same  holy 
Church  says:  "  He  was  was  fed  on  a  little  milk."  a 

And  Jesus  Christ,  as  he  was  born  poor,  so  did  he  also 
continue  in  poverty  all  his  life.  Not  only  was  he  poor,  but 
a  beggar;  for  the  word  egenus,  used  by  St.  Paul,  signifies 
in  the  Greek  text  a  beggar;  so  that  Cornelius  a  Lapide 
says,  "It  is  evident  that  Christ  was  not  only  poor,  but 
also  a  beggar."  :  Our  Redeemer,  after  being  born  in 
such  poverty,  was  obliged  to  fly  from  his  own  country 
into  Egypt.  In  this  journey,  St.  Bonaventure  goes  on 
to  consider  and  compassionate  the  poverty  of  Mary  and 
Joseph,  who,  travelling  like  poor  people  on  so  long  a 
journey,  and  carrying  the  Holy  Infant,  must  have  suf 
fered  very  much  on  account  of  their  poverty:  "What  did 
they  do  for  food?"  (says  the  saint).  "Where  did  they  re 
pose  at  night  ?  how  were  they  lodged  ?"  4  What  could 
they  have  had  to  eat  except  a  little  hard  bread  ?  Where 
could  they  have  slept  at  night,  in  that  desert,  if  not  on 
the  ground,  in  the  open  air,  or  under  some  tree  ?  Who 
that  met  these  three  great  pilgrims  on  their  way  would 
ever  have  taken  them  for  anything  else  than  three  poor 
beggars  ? 

"  Virgo  lactabat  ubere  de  coelo  pleno." — In  Circ.  resp.  8. 
2  "  Lacte  modico  pastus  est." — In  Nativ.  ad  L. 

"  Patet   Christum,     non    tantum    pauperem    fuisse,    sed    et    vere 
mendicum." 

"  Quomodo  faciebant  de  victu?  ubi  nocte  quiescebant?  quomodo 
hospitabantur  ?" — Med.  vit.  Chr.  c.  12. 


Ii8  Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

They  arrive  in  Egypt;  and  any  one  may  imagine  how 
great  must  have  been  the  poverty  which  for  seven  years 
they  had  to  endure,  being  as  they  were  without  relatives 
and  without  friends.  St.  Basil  says  that  they  had  scarce 
ly  enough  to  subsist  on,  procuring  their  food  by  the 
work  of  their  hands:  "  They  worked  hard,  in  the  sweat 
of  their  brow,  to  gain  for  themselves  by  such  means  the 
necessaries  of  life."  1  Ludolph  of  Saxony  tells  us  that 
sometimes  the  Infant  Jesus,  constrained  by  hunger,  went 
to  ask  Mary  for  a  little  bread,  and  that  Mary  sent  him 
away,  saying  that  there  was  not  any:  "  Sometimes  the 
Son  asked  for  bread  to  satisfy  his  hunger,  but  the  Mother 
had  it  not  to  give."  ' 

From  Egypt  they  returned  into  Palestine  to  live  again 
in  Nazareth,  and  there  Jesus  continues  his  life  of  pov 
erty.  Here  the  house  is  poor  and  the  furniture  is  poor: 
"A  poor  cottage  scantily  furnished;  such  was  the  dwell 
ing  which  the  Creator  of  the  world  chose  for  himself/' 
says  St.  Cyprian.3  In  this  cottage  he  lives  as  a  poor 
man,  gaining  his  livelihood  by  the  sweat  of  his  brow,  in 
the  same  manner  that  all  workmen  and  their  children 
do;  so  that  he  was  called  and  was  believed  by  the  Jews 
to  be  a  simple  workman:  "Is  not  this  the  carpenter? 
Is  not  this  the  carpenter's  son  !" 

Finally,  then,  the  Redeemer  comes  forth  to  preach, 
and  in  these  three  last  years  of  his  life  he  changes  not 
his  tortune  or  his  condition;  but  he  lives  in  even  greater 
poverty  than  before,  living  on  alms.  Therefore  he  said 
to  a  certain  man,  who  wished  to  follow  him,  in  order  to 

1  "  Sudores    frequentabant,  necessaria  vitse   inde   sibi  quserentes.' 
— Const,  mon.  c.  5. 

2  "  Aliquando  Filius,  famem  patiens,  panem  petiit,  nee  unde  dartf 
Mater  habuit." — Vit.  Chr.  p.  I,  c.  13. 

3  "  Domus    paupercula,    supellex    exigua :    tale   elegit    Fabricate* 
tnundi  hospitium." — Lib.  de  Nativ. 

4  "  Norjne  hie  est  faber,—  fabri  filius?" — Mark,  vi.  3;  Matt.  xiii.  55.' 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Poor.    \  19 

lead  an  easier  life:  The  foxes  have  holes,  and  the  birds  of 
the  air  nests;  but  the  Son  of  Man  hath  not  where  to  lay  His 
head.1  He  meant  to  say:  Man,  if  thou  hopest  to  better 
thy  condition  by  becoming  my  follower,  thou  dost  err, 
for  I  came  on  earth  to  teach  poverty;  and  therefore  have 
I  made  myself  poorer  than  the  foxes  or  the  birds  of  the 
air,  which  have  their  holes  and  their  nests;  while  I  have 
not  even  a  foot  of  ground  belonging  to  me  on  this  earth, 
where  I  may  rest  my  head;  and  so  would  I  have  all  my 
disciples  to  be:  "  Dost  thou  hope"  (is  the  comment  of 
Cornelius  a  Lapide  on  this  text)  "  that  in  following  me 
thou  wilt  increase  thy  riches  ?  Thou  art  in  error,  for  I, 
as  the  master  of  perfection,  am  poor,  and  such  I  wish 
my  disciples  to  be.";  For  it  follows,  says  St.  Jerome, 
that  "the  servant  of  Christ  has  nothing  but  Christ."3 
The  true  servants  of  Christ  neither  have,  nor  desire  to 
have,  anything  but  Christ.  In  a  word,  Christ  lived  poor, 
and  he  at  last  died  poor;  for  St.  Joseph  of  Arimathea 
was  obliged  to  give  him  a  burial-place;  and  others,  out 
of  charity,  provided  the  sheet  in  which  to  wrap  his  dead 
body. 

H. 

Cardinal  Hugo,  meditating  on  the  poverty,  the  con 
tempt,  and  the  pains  to  which  it  pleased  our  Redeemer 
to  submit,  says,  "  He  made  himself,  as  it  were,  a  fool, 
and  condescended  to  our  miseries."  4  God  seems  to  have 
gone  on  to  madness  in  his  love  for  men,  being  willing  to 
embrace  so  many  miseries  to  obtain  for  them  the  riches 
of  divine  grace  and  eternal  glory.  And  whoever  says 

"  Vulpes  foveas  habent,  et  volucres  coeli  nidos;  Filius  autem  hom- 
inis  non  habet  ubi  caput  reclinet." — Matt.  viii.  20. 

"  Speras  te  in  mei  sequela  posse  rem  tuam  augere;  sed  erras:  quia 
ego,  velut  perfectionis  Magister,  pauper  sum,  talesque  volo  esse 
meos  discipulos." 

"Servus  Christ!  nihil  praeter  Christum  habet."— Ep.  ad  Heliod. 
4  "  Quasi  insanus  factus,  ad  miserias  nostras  descendit." 


I2O  Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

the  same  author,  would  have  believed,  if  Christ  had  not 
done  it,  that  while  he  was  the  master  of  all  riches,  he 
would  have  made  himself  so  poor  !  that  being  Lord  of 
all,  he  should  have  become  a  servant !  that  being  the 
King  of  heaven,  he  should  have  chosen  to  be  so  de 
spised  !  that  being  blessed,  he  should  choose  so  many 
sufferings  !  "Who  could  believe  that  the  possessor  of 
all  things  would  condescend  to  poverty, — the  Lord  to 
slavery,  the  King  to  ignominy,  the  ever-blessed  to  suffer- 
ing!"' 

There  are,  it  is  true,  many  princes  in  this  world  who 
delight  in  employing  their  riches  for  the  relief  of  the 
poor  ;  but  where  shall  we  find  a  king  who,  to  alleviate 
the  poverty  of  the  poor,  has  made  himself  poor  like 
them,  as  Jesus  Christ  did  ?  It  is  related  as  a  prodigious 
example  of  charity  that  the  holy  King  Edward,  seeing 
a  beggar  on  the  road,  who  was  unable  to  move,  and  was 
there  remaining  utterly  abandoned,  took  him  up  on  his 
shoulders  with  great,  tenderness,  and  carried  him  to  the 
church.  Yes,  this  was  so  great  an  act  of  charity  that  all 
the  people  were  astonished  at  it  ;  but  Edward  did  not 
for  this  cease  to  be  king,  and  he  remained  as  rich  as  he 
was  before.  But  the  Son  of  God,  the  King  of  heaven 
and  earth,  to  save  the  lost  sheep,  which  was  man,  not 
only  descended  from  heaven  to  seek  him,  not  only  put 
him  on  his  shoulders,  but  laid  aside  his  own  majesty, 
his  riches,  and  honors  ;  he  made  himself  poor,  even  the 
poorest  among  men  :  "  He  hid  his  purple  under  miser 
able  garments,"  says  St.  Peter  Damian  ;  2  he  hid  the 
purple,  that  is,  the  divine  Majesty,  beneath  the  clothes 
of  a  wretched  carpenter's  boy :  "  He  wrho  enriches 
others"  (says  St.  Gregory  Nazianzen)  "  has  no  riches  him- 

1  "  Quis  crederet  divitern  ad  paupertatem  descendere,  dominum  ad 
servitutem,  regem  ad  ignominiam,  deliciosum  ad  austeritatem  ?" 

2  "  Abscondit  purpuram  sub  miserise  vestimentis." — Serm.  in  Nat. 
Salv. 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Poor.    \  1 1 

self ;  he  undergoes  the  poverty  of  my  carnal  nature, 
that  I  may  obtain  the  wealth  of  his  divine  nature."  He 
who  provides  riches  for  the  rich  chose  himself  to  be 
poor,  that  he  might  merit  for  us,  not  indeed  earthly, 
miserable,  and  perishable  riches,  but  divine  riches,  which 
are  infinite  and  eternal,  thus  endeavoring  by  his  example 
to  detach  us  from  the  affection  of  all  earthly  things, 
which  brings  us  often  into  great  danger  of  everlasting 
destruction.  It  is  mentioned  in  the  life  of  St.  John 
Francis  Regis,  that  his  ordinary  meditation  was  on  the 
poverty  of  Jesus  Christ. 

Albertus  Magnus  tells  us  that  Jesus  Christ  chose  to  be 
born  in  a  stable,  open  to  the  public  road,  for  two  reasons: 
one,  that  we  might  understand  more  fully  that  we  are 
all  pilgrims  in  this  world,  and  that  we  are  only  here  in 
passing.  "  Thou  art  a  stranger,  look  and  pass  by," : 
says  St.  Augustine.  Any  one  who  is  lodging  in  a  tem 
porary  place  would  not  certainly  bestow  any  affection  on 
it,  thinking  that  in  a  short  time  he  will  have  to  leave 
it.  Oh !  if  men  would  always  remember  that  they  are 
but  travellers  in  this  world,  and  on  their  way  to  eternity, 
who  would  be  found  to  attach  himself  to  earthly  riches, 
and,  so  doing,  to  run  the  risk  of  losing  the  riches  of 
eternity?  The  other  reason  was,  says  Albertus  Mag 
nus,  "  to  teach  us  to  despise  the  world  ;"  3  that  by  this 
example  we  might  learn  to  despise  the  world,  whose 
riches  cannot  satisfy  our  hearts.  The  world  teaches  its 
followers  that  happiness  consists  in  the  possession  of 
riches,  pleasures,  and  honors  ;  but  this  deceitful  world 
was  condemned  by  the  Son  of  God  when  he  became 
man.  Now  is  the  judgment  of  the  world?  And  this  con- 

1  "  Qui  alios  ditat,  paupertate   afficitur;  carnis    meae  paupertatem 
subit,  ut  ego  divinitatis  opes  consequar." — In  Pasch.  or.  2. 

2  "  Hospes  es,  vides,  et  transis." 

3  "  Utmundum  contemnere  doceret." 

4  "  Nunc  judicium  est  mundi." — John,  xii.  31. 


122  Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

demnation  of  the  world  began  (according  to  St.  Anselm 
and  St.  Bernard)  in  the  stable  of  Bethlehem.  Jesus 
Christ  wished  to  be  born  there  in  poverty,  "  that  through 
his  poverty  we  might  become  rich  ;"  that  from  his  di 
vine  example  we  should  pluck  out  of  our  hearts  all  affec 
tion  to  the  things  we  possess  here,  and  should  give  it  to 
virtue  and  holy  love.  "Christ,"  says  Cassian,  "began  a 
new  way  ;  he  loved  that  which  the  world  hated,  namely, 
poverty."  l 

Therefore  the  saints,  after  the  example  of  the  Saviour, 
have  always  sought  to  despoil  themselves  of  everything, 
and  to  follow,  like  poor  people,  Jesus  Christ,  who  was 
himself  poor.  St.  Bernard  says,  "The  poverty  of  Christ 
is  richer  than  all  the  treasures  of  the  world."2  The 
poverty  of  Christ  brings  us  greater  riches  than  all 
worldly  treasures  ;  because  it  excites  us  in  acquiring  the 
riches  of  heaven  and  in  despising  those  of  the  world. 
Hear  what  St.  Paul  said  :  I  count  all  things  but  as  dung, 
that  I  may  gain  Christ?  When  compared  with  the  grace 
of  Jesus  Christ,  the  Apostle  esteemed  everything  else  as 
dung  and  filth.  Look  at  St.  Benedict,  who,  in  the  flower 
of  his  youth,  left  the  riches  and  comfort  of  his  father's 
house,  and  went  to  live  in  a  cave,  and  received  a  little 
bread  as  an  alms  from  a  monk  called  Romanus,  who 
supported  him  in  this  way  out  of  charity.  See  how  St. 
Francis  Borgia  abandons  all  his  riches,  and  goes  to  live 
like  a  poor  man  in  the  Society  of  Jesus.  St.  Anthony, 
abbot,  sells  his  rich  patrimony,  distributes  it  to  the 
poor,  and  then  goes  to  dwell  in  a  desert.  Behold  St. 
Francis  of  Assisi  giving  back  even  his  shirt  to  his  father, 
that  he  may  live  as  a  beggar  all  his  life. 

"  Initiavit  Christus  viam  novam:  dilexit,  quam  mundus  odio  ha- 
buit,  paupertatem." 

"2  "  Ditior  Christi  paupertas  cunctis  thesauris." — In  Vig.  Nat.  s.  4. 

3  "  Omnia  detrimentum  feci  et  arbitror  ut  stercora,  ut  Christum  lu- 
crifaciam." — Phil.  iii.  8. 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Poor.    123 

He  who  covets  possessions,  said  St.  Philip  Neri,  will 
never  become  a  saint.  And  so  it  is  ;  for  the  heart  that 
is  full  of  this  world  has  no  room  for  divine  love  :  "Dost 
thou  bring  an  empty  heart  ?"  '  This  was  what  the  monks 
of  old  chiefly  required,  in  accepting  those  who  came  to 
join  themselves  to  their  company.  And  when  they  asked 
them,  dost  thou  bring  a  heart  void  of  all  earthly  affec 
tion  ?  they  meant  to  say,  If  thou  dost  not  do  so,  thou  canst 
never  belong  entirely  to  God  :  For  where  thy  treasure  is, 
there  is  thy  heart  also:1  The  treasure  of  each  one  is  any 
thing  that  he  loves  and  prizes.  Once,  when  a  certain 
rich  man  died,  who  was  damned,  St.  Anthony  of  Padua 
published  his  damnation  from  the  pulpit  ;  and,  as  a  sign 
of  the  truth  of  what  he  said,  he  told  the  people  to  go  to 
the  place  where  he  had  kept  his  money,  and  that  they 
should  find  the  heart  of  that  wretched  man  in  the  midst 
of  his  money.  And  they  did  actually  go,  and  they 
found  his  heart  still  warm  in  the  midst  of  his  money. 

God  cannot  be  the  treasure  of  any  one  who  retains 
affection  for  the  goods  of  this  life  ;  therefore  David 
prayed  :  Create  a  clean  heart  in  me,  O  God?  Lord,  cleanse 
my  heart  from  earthly  affections,  that  I  may  be  able  to 
say  that  thou  art  the  God  of  my  heart,  and  my  eternal 
riches  :  The  God  of  my  heart,  and  my  portion  forever? 
He,  then,  who  really  wishes  to  become  a  saint  must 
drive  away  from  his  heart  everything  that  is  not  God. 
What  are  treasures?  what  possessions?  what  riches? 
what  is  the  use  of  these  goods,  if  they  do  not  satisfy  the 
heart,  and  we  must  leave  them  so  soon  ?  Lay  not  up  to 

1  "  Affersne  cor  vacuum?" 

2  "  Ubi  enim  est  thesaurus  tuus,  ibi  est  et  cor  tuum." — Matt.  vi. 
21. 

3  "  Cor  mundum  crea  in  me,  Deus." — Ps.  1.  12. 

4  "  Deus  cordis  mei,  et  pars  mea,  Deus,  in  seternum.'' — Ps.  Ixxii. 
26. 


124  Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

yourselves  treasures  on  earth,  where  the  rust  and  moth  con 
sume  .  .  .,  but  lay  up  to  yourselves  treasures  in  heaven^ 

O  what  great  happiness  is  prepared  by  God  in  heaven 
for  those  who  love  him  !  O  what  a  treasure  is  the  grace 
of  God  and  divine  love  to  those  know  it  !  That  I  may 
enrich  them  that  love  me?  God  contains  in  himself  and 
brings  with  him  riches  and  the  reward  :  Behold  His  re- 
ward  is  with  Him?  says  Isaias.  It  is  God  alone  who  is  the 
reward  of  the  blessed  in  heaven  ;  he  alone  is  sufficient  to 
make  them  happy  :  I  am  thy  reward  exceeding  great? 

But  he  who  would  love  God  exceedingly  in  heaven  must 
first  love  him  very  much  on  earth.  According  to  the 
degree  of  love  which  we  bear  towards  God  when  we 
finish  the  journey  of  life,  will  be  the  degree  of  love  with 
which  we  shall  continue  to  love  God  for  all  eternity. 
And  if  we  wish  to  be  certain  of  nevermore  being  sepa 
rated  from  our  Sovereign  Good  in  this  life,  let  us  always 
bind  ourselves  more  closely  to  him  by  the  chains  of  love, 
and  say  with  the  sacred  spouse  :  I  found  Him  whom  my 
soul  loveth;  I  held  Him;  and  I  will  not  let  Him  go*  How 
did  the  spouse  hold  her  beloved  ?  "  With  the  arms  of 
love,"  replies  the  Abbot  William.  "  Yes,"  says  St.  Am 
brose,  "  God  is  held  with  the  chains  of  love."  6  God  al 
lows  himself  to  be  bound  by  us  with  chains  of  love. 
Happy,  then,  is  the  man  who  can  say  with  St.  Paulinus  : 
"  Let  the  rich  enjoy  their  riches,  kings  their  kingdoms  ; 


"  Nolite  thesaurizare  vobis  thesauros  in  terra,  ubi  arugo  et  tinea 
demolitur  .  .  .;  thesaurizate  autem  vobis  thesauros  in  coelo."— J/*//. 
vi.  19. 

2"Mecum    sunt   divitiae  .  .  .  ut    ditem    diligentes    me."— Prov 
viii.  18. 

"  Ecce  merces  ejus  cum  eo." — Isa.  Ixii.  n. 
'Ego  .   .   .   merces  tua  magna  nimis." — Gen.  xv.  i. 
11  Inveni  quern   diligit  anima  mea;  tenui  eum,  nee  dimittam."— 
Cant.  iii.  4. 

"Christus  tenetur  vinculis  charitatis."— De  Virginib.  1.  3. 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Poor.    125 

but  let  Christ  be  my  riches  and  my  kingdom."  And 
with  St.  Ignatius:  "Give  me  only  Thy  love  and  Thy 
grace,  and  I  am  rich  enough."  ;  Lord,  give  me  Thy 
grace  and  Thy  holy  love  ;  may  I  love  Thee,  and  be 
loved  by  Thee  ;  and  I  am  sufficiently  rich  :  I  desire  noth 
ing  more  ;  nor  is  there  anything  else  that  I  could  de 
sire.  "No  one,"  says  St.  Leo,  "  need  fear  want  who 
possesses  all  things  in  the  Lord."  ;  Let  us  also  never 
fail  to  have  recourse  to  the  divine  Mother,  and  to  love 
her,  after  God,  above  all  things;  for  she  herself  assures 
us  (in  the  words  of  the  Holy  Church)  that  she  enriches 
with  graces  all  those  who  love  her :  "  With  me  are 
riches  .  .  .  that  I  may  enrich  them  that  love  me." 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

My  dear  Jesus,  inflame  me  with  Thy  holy  love;  since  for  this 
end  Thou  didst  come  upon  this  earth.  It  is  true  that  I  am  so 
wretched  as  to  have  often  offended  Thee,  after  the  many  special 
lights  and  graces  which  have  been  bestowed  on  me ;  I  am  no 
longer  worthy  to  be  consumed  in  those  blessed  flames  with 
which  the  saints  are  inflamed,  I  ought  rather  to  burn  in  the  fire 
of  hell  ;  but  now,  being  free  from  that  prison  which  I  have  de 
served,  I  feel  that  Thou  dost  also  turn  towards  me  notwith 
standing  my  ingratitude,  and  say,  Thou  shalt  love  the  Lord 
thy  God  with  all  thy  heart?  I  thank  Thee,  my  God,  that 
Thou  dost  again  give  me  this  sweet  precept ;  and  as  Thou  dost 
command  me  to  love  Thee,  I  will  obey  Thee,  and  will  love  Thee 
with  my  whole  heart.  Lord,  I  have  hitherto  been  ungrateful 

1  "  Sibi  habeant  divitias  suas  divites,  sibi  regna  sua  reges  ;  nobis 
gloria  et  possessio  et  regnum  Christus  est." — Ep.  ad  Apr  urn. 

'2  "  Amorem  tui  solum  cum  gratia  tua  mihi  dones,  et  dives  sum 
satis." 

3  "  Non  pavet    indigentia    laborare,  cui    donatum    est   in    Domino 
omnia  possidere." — In  Quadr.  s.  4. 

4  "  Mecum  sunt  divitias  .   .    .,   ut  ditem  diligentes  me." — Prov.  viii. 
18. 

5  "  Diliges  Dominum  Deum  tuum  ex  toto  corde  tuo." — Matt.  xxii. 

37- 


i  26  Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

and  blind,  because  I  have  not  been  mindful  of  the  love  Thou 
hast  borne  me.  But  now  Thou  dost  enlighten  me  again,  and 
dost  make  me  understand  how  much  Thou  hast  done  for  my 
sake  :  now  that  I  think  that  Thou  didst  become  man  for  me, 
that  Thou  didst  take  upon  Thee  my  miseries  ;  now  that  I  see 
Thee  trembling  with  cold  on  the  straw,  crying  and  weeping  for 
me,— O  my  infant  God,  how  can  I  live  without  loving  Thee? 
Ah,  my  Love,  pardon  me  for  all  the  displeasure  I  have  caused 
Thee.  O  God,  how  could  I,  knowing  as  I  did  by  faith  how 
much  Thou  hast  suffered  for  me,  how  could  I  have  offended 
Thee  so  much?  But  this  straw  that  torments  Thee,  that  vile 
,  manger  in  which  Thou  art  lying,  those  tender  cries  which  Thou 
dost  put  forth,  those  loving  tears  which  Thou  dost  shed,— these 
all  make  me  firmly  hope  for  pardon  and  grace  to  love  Thee  for 
the  rest  of  my  life.  I  love  Thee,  O  Incarnate  Word;  I  love 
Thee,  O  Divine  Child  ;  and  I  give  myself  all  to  Thee.  For  the 
sake  of  those  pains  which  Thou  didst  suffer  in  the  stable  of 
Bethlehem,  accept,  O  my  Jesus  !  this  miserable  sinner,  who  de 
sires  to  love  Thee.  Help  me,  give  me  perseverance  ;  I  hope 
for  all  things  from  Thee.  O  Mary  !  great  Mother  of  this  great 
Son,  and  most  beloved  by  him,  pray  to  him  for  me. 

DISCOURSE   IX. 
The  Eternal  Word  from  being  High  made  Himself  Low. 

Disci te  a.  we,  guia  mitis  sum  et  humilis  corde. 
"  Learn  of  Me,  because  I  am  meek  and  humble  of  heart."— .ft.  Matt.  xi.  20. 

Pride  was  the  chief  cause  of  the  fall  of  our  first  pa 
rents,  who,  not  being  willing  to  submit  themselves  to 
the  obedience  of  God,  thereby  caused  their  own  ruin 
and  that  of  all  the  human  race.  But  the  mercy  of  God 
as  a  remedy  against  such  destruction,  decreed  that  his 
only-begotten  Son  should  humble  himself  to  take  upon 
himself  our  flesh  ;  and  by  the  example  of  his  life  should 
induce  men  to  love  humility,  and  to  detest  pride,  which 
renders  them  hateful  in  the  sight  of  God  and  man.  For 
this  end  is  it  that  St.  Bernard  now  invites  us  to  visit  the 
cave  of  Bethlehem,  saying,  «  Let  us  go  even  to  Bethle- 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Low.    1 2  7 

hem:  there  we  have  what  to  admire,  what  to  love,  and 
what  to  imitate."1 

Yes;  in  that  cave  we  have  first  of  all  cause  to  wonder.3 
What  !  a  God  in  a  stable  !  a  God  on  straw  !  that  God 
who  sits  on  the  highest  throne  of  the  majesty  of  heaven: 
/  saw  the  Lord  sitting  upon  a  throne  high  and  elevated?  says 
Isaias;  and  then  where  do  we  see  him?  In  a  manger, 
unknown  and  abandoned,  with  none  around  him  save  a 
few  poor  shepherds  and  two  animals  ! 

"We  have  what  to  love;"  we  shall  easily  find  one  in 
whom  to  place  our  affection,  seeing  there  a  God,  who  is 
the  Infinite  Good,  and  who  has  chosen  to  debase  himself 
by  appearing  to  the  world  as  a  poor  Infant,  thereby  to 
make  himself  more  endearing  and  pleasing  in  our  eyes. 
As  St.  Bernard  says  again,  "  The  more  degraded  he  ap 
pears  to  me,  the  more  dear  is  he  to  me." 

We  shall  lastly  find  what  to  imitate:  "  We  have  what 
to  imitate."  5  We  find  the  Supreme  Being,  the  King  of 
heaven,  become  an  humble  poor  little  Infant,  desirous  in 
this  way,  from  his  very  infancy,  of  teaching  us  by  his 
example  that  which  he  was  afterwards  to  tell  us  byword 
of  mouth:  "  He  proclaims  by  his  example  (says  the  same 
holy  Abbot)  what  he  is  afterwards  to  teach  by  his 
mouth:  learn  of  Me,  for  I  am  gentle  and  humble  of 
heart."  6  Let  us  ask  for  light  of  Jesus  and  Mary. 

1  "  Habemus  quod   amemus  et  admiremur,  habemus  etiam    quod 
imitemur." — De  Circ.  s.  3. 

2  "Quod  admiremur." 

3  "  Vidi  Dominum  sedentem  super  solium  excelsum  et  elevatum." 
— ha.    vi.  I. 

4  "  Quanto  pro  me  vilior,  tanto  mihi  carior." — In  Epiph.  D.  s.  i. 
;"  "  Quod  imitemur." 

6  "  Clamat  exemplo  quod  postmodum  praedicaturus  est  verbo:  Dis 
cite  a  me,  quia  mitis  sum  et  humilis  corde." — In  Nat.  D.  s.  i. 


128  Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 


T. 


Who  does  not  know  that  God  is  the  first,  the  highest 
in  nobility,  and  the  source  whence  all  nobility  proceeds  ? 
He  is  of  an  infinite  greatness.  He  is  independent;  for 
he  has  not  received  his  greatness  from  any  other,'  but 
has  always  possessed  it  in  himself.  He  is  the  Lord  of 
all,  whom  all  creatures  obey:  The  winds  and  the  sea  obey 
Him.'  Truly,  therefore,  does  the  Apostle  say,  that  to 
God  alone  belong  honor  and  glory:  To  the  only  God  be 
honor  and  glory?  But  the  Eternal  Word,  to  provide  a 
remedy  for  man's  disgrace,  which  was  brought  about  by 
his  pride,  having  made  himself  an  example  of  poverty 
(as  we  considered  in  the  last  discourse),  to  detach  man 
from  worldly  goods,  desired  also  to  make  himself  an  ex 
ample  of  humility,  to  free  him  from  the  vice  of  pride. 

And  in  doing  this,  the  first  and  greatest  example  of 
humility  which  he  gave  was  making  himself  a  man,  and 
clothing  himself  with  our  miseries:  In  habit  found  as  a 
man*  Cassian  says  that  any  one  who  puts  on  the  dress 
of  another  man  hides  himself  under  it;  in  like  man 
ner  God  hid  his  divine  nature  under  the  lowly  dress 
of  human  flesh.  "  He  who  is  clothed  is  hidden  under 
his  clothes;  so  the  divine  nature  concealed  itself  beneath 
the  clothing  of  flesh."4  And  St.  Bernard:  "The  divine 
Majesty  became  small  in  order  that  it  might  join  itself 
to  our  earthly  nature;  and  that  God  and  clay,  majesty 
and  weakness,  the  most  extreme  abasement  and  the 
highest  grandeur,  might  be  united  in  one  person."  6  A 

"Venti  et  mare  obediunt  ei." — Matt.  viii.  27. 
"2  "  Soli  Deo  honor  et  gloria." — i  Tim.  i.  17. 

3  "  Habitu  inventus  ut  homo." — Phil.  ii.  7. 

4  "  Qui  vestitur,  sub  veste  absconditur  ;  sic  natura  divina  sub  car- 
nis  veste  delimit." 

"Contraxit  se  Majestas,  ut  seipsam  limo  nostro  conjungeret,  et 
in  persona  una  unirentur  Deus  et  limus,  majestas  et  infirmitas,  tanta 
vilitas  et  sublimitas  tanta." — In  Vig.  Nat.  s.  3. 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Low.    i  29 

God  to  unite  himself  to  dust  !  greatness  to  misery  !  sub 
limity  to  wretchedness  !  But  that  which  must  make  us 
wonder  still  more  is,  that  not  only  did  God  choose  to  ap 
pear  as  a  creature,  but  as  a  sinful  creature,  putting  on 
sinful  flesh :  God  sending  his  own  Son  in  the  likeness  of  sin 
ful  flesh.1 

But  the  Son  of  God  was  not  even  contented  to  .appear 
as  a  man,  and  as  a  sinful  man:  he  desired  further  to 
choose  the  most  lowly  and  humble  life  among  men;  so 
that  Isaias  called  him  the  last,  the  most  humble  of  men: 
Despised  and  the  most  abject  of  men?  Jeremias  said  that 
he  should  be  covered  with  ignominy:  He  shall  be  filled 
with  reproaches.  3  And  David,  that  he  should  be  made 
the  scorn  of  men,  and  the  outcast  of  the  people:  The  re 
proach  of  //ten,  and  the  outcast  of  the  people."  For  such  an 
end  Jesus  Christ  wished  to  be  born  in  the  most  abject 
way  that  could  be  imagined.  What  an  ignominy  for  a 
man,  even  though  he  is  poor,  to  be  born  in  a  stable  ! 
Who  is  there  that  is  born  in  a  stable  ?  The  poor  are 
born  in  their  huts,  at  least  on  beds  of  straw;  stables  are 
fit  only  for  beasts  and  worms;  and  the  Son  of  God  chose 
to  be  born  on  this  earth  like  a  worm:  I  am  a  worm,  and 
no  man?  Yes,  says  St.  Augustine,  in  such  humility  did 
the  King  of  the  universe  choose  to  be  born,  in  order  to 
show  us  his  majesty  and  power  in  his  very  humility,  by 
which  he  could  through  his  example  make  those  men  who 
are  born  full  of  pride  love  humility:  "  Such  was  the  will 
of  the  Most  High,  who  is  also  so  humble,  to  show  forth 
his  majesty  by  very  humility."  ' 

1  "  Deus  Filium  suum  mittens  in  similitudinem  carnis  peccati."- 
Rom.  viii.  3. 

2  "  Novissimum  virorum." — Isa.  liii.  3. 

3  "  Saturabitur  opprobriis." — Lam.  iii.  30. 

4  "Opprobrium  hominum  et  abjectio  plebis." — Ps.  xxi.  7. 
6  "  Ego  autem  sum  vermis,  et  non  homo." — Ibid. 

6  "Sic  voluit  nasci  excelsushumilis,  ut  in  ipsa  humilitate  ostenderet 
majestatem." — De  Symb.  ad  cat.  1.  2,  c.  5. 


130  Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

An  angel  announced  to  the  shepherds  the  birth  of  the 
Messias;  and  the  signs  which  he  gave  them  by  which 
they  might  find  him  and  recognize  him  were  all  signs  of 
humility.  When  you  shall  find  a  child  (said  he)  in  a 
stable,  wrapped  up  in  rags,  and  lying  in  a  manger  on  the 
straw,  know  that  it  is  your  Saviour:  And  this  shall  be  a 
sign  unto  you;  you  shall  find  the  infant  wrapped  in  swad 
dling-clothes,  and  laid  in  a  manger.1  In  such  a  state  is  it 
that  we  find  a  God  who  is  coming  to  this  earth  to  de 
stroy  pride. 

Then  the  life  which  Jesus  Christ  led  in  Egypt,  where 
he  was  in  exile,  was  in  conformity  with  his  birth.  Dur 
ing  the  years  he  remained  there,  he  lived  as  a  stranger, 
unknown,  and  in  poverty,  in  the  midst  of  those  barbari 
ans.  Who  knew  him  there  ?  who  made  any  account  of 
him  ? 

He  returned  to  Judea,  and  continued  to  live  the  same 
sort  of  a  life  he  had  led  in  Egypt.  He  lived  for  thirty 
years  in  a  shop,  supposed  by  all  to  be  the  son  of  a  com 
mon  workman,  doing  the  work  of  a  serving-boy,  poor,  un 
seen,  and  despised.  In  that  holy  family  there  were  no 
servants.  "  Joseph  and  Mary,"  writes  St.  Peter  Chrysol- 
ogus,  "have  neither  servant  nor  servant-maid:  them 
selves  are  at  once  master  and  servant."  '  There  was  but 
one  servant  in  that  family,  and  he  was  the  Son  of  God, 
who  wished  to  become  the  Son  of  Man,  that  is,  of  Mary, 
that  he  might  be  an  humble  servant,  and  obey  a  man  and 
a  woman  as  their  servant:  And  He  was  subject  to  them? 

After  thirty  years  of  hidden  life,  finally  the  time  came 
that  our  Saviour  was  to  appear  in  public  to  preach  his 
heavenly  doctrines,  which  he  had  come  from  heaven  to 

1  "  Et  hoc  vobis  signum:  invenietis  infantem  pannis  involutum,  et 
positum  in  praesepio." — Luke,  ii.  12. 

2  "Joseph  et  Maria  non  habent  famulum,  non  ancillam;  ipsi  domin 
et  famuli." — Horn,  de  Nat.  Dom. 

3  "  Et  erat  subditus  illis." — Luke,  ii.  51, 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Low.    1 3 1 

teach  us;  and  therefore  it  was  necessary  that  he  should 
make  himself  known  as  the  true  Son  of  God.  But,  O  my 
God  !  how  many  were  there  that  acknowledged  and 
honored  him  as  he  deserved  ?  Besides  the  few  disciples 
who  followed  him,  all  the  rest,  instead  of  honoring  him, 
despised  him  as  a  vile  man  and  an  impostor.  Ah,  then  was 
verified  in  the  fullest  manner  the  prophecy  of  Simeon: 
This  child  is  set  for  a  sign  which  shall  be  contradicted,1  Jesus 
Christ  was  contradicted  and  despised  by  all:  he  was  de 
spised  in  his  doctrine;  for  when  he  declared  that  he  was 
the  only-begotten  Son  of  God,  he  was  called  a  blasphe 
mer,  and  as  such  was  condemned  to  death;  as  the  wicked 
Caiphas  said,  He  hath  blasphemed;  He  is  guilty  of  death? 
He  was  despised  in  his  wisdom;  for  he  was  esteemed  a 
fool  without  sense:  He  is  mad :  why  hear  you  Him  ? 5  His 
morals  were  reproached  as  being  scandalous, — they 
called  him  a  glutton,  a  drunkard,  and  the  friend  of 
wicked  people:  Behold  a  man  that  is  a  glutton,  and  a 
drinker  of  wine ,  a  friend  of  publicans  and  sinners*  He  was 
accused  of  being  a  sorcerer,  and  of  having  commerce 
with  devils:  By  the  prince  of  the  devils  He  casteth  out 
devils. b  He  was  called  a  heretic,  and  one  possessed  by 
the  devil:  Do  we  not  say  well,  that  Thou  art  a  Samaritan, 
and  hast  a  deril?  6  A  deceiver:  For  that  deceiver  said,  etc.7 
In  fine,  Jesus  Christ  was  considered  by  all  the  people  so 
wicked  a  man  that  there  was  no  need  of  a  tribunal  to 

1  "  Positus  est  hie  ...  in  signum   cui    contradicetur." — Luke,  ii. 
34- 

2  "  Blasphemavit  .   .  .   Reus  est  mortis." — Matt.  xxvi.  65. 

3  "  Insanit;  quid  eum  auditis  ?" — John,  x.  20. 

4  "  Ecce  homo  devorator  et  bibens  vinum,  amicus  publicanorum  et 
peccatorum." — Luke,  vii.  34. 

5  "  In  principe  daemoniorum  ejicit  dsemones." — Matt.  ix.  34. 

"  Nonne  bene  dicimus  nos,  quia  Samaritanus  es  tu  et  daemonium 
habes  ?" — John,  viii.  48. 

7  "Seductor  ille." — Matt,  xxvii.  63. 


132  Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

condemn  him  to  be  crucified:  If  He  were  not  a  malefactor, 
we  would  not  have  delivered  Him  up  to  thee. 1 

At  last  the  Saviour  came  to  the  end  of  his  life  and  to 
his  Passion;  and,  O  God,  what  contempt  and  ill-treat 
ment  did  he  not  receive  in  his  Passion  !  He  was  be 
trayed  and  sold  by  one  of  his  own  disciples  for  thirty 
pieces  of  money,  a  less  price  than  would  be  given  for  a 
beast.  By  another  disciple  he  was  denied.  He  was 
dragged  through  the  streets  of  Jerusalem  bound  like  a 
thief,  abandoned  by  all,  even  by  his  few  remaining  dis 
ciples.  He  was  treated  shamefully  as  a  slave,  when  he 
was  scourged.  He  was  struck  on  the  face  in  public.  He 
was  treated  as  a  fool,  when  Herod  had  a  white  garment 
put  on  him,  that  he  might  be  thought  a  foolish  person 
without  any  sense:  "He  despised  him  as  ignorant," 
says  St.  Bonaventure,  "  because  he  did  not  answer  a 
word;  as  foolish,  because  He  did  not  defend  himself."2 
He  was  treated  as  a  mock-king,  when  they  put  into  his 
hand  a  piece  of  reed  instead  of  a  sceptre,  a  tattered  red 
garment  upon  his  shoulders  instead  of  the  purple,  and  a 
chaplet  of  thorns  on  his  head  for  a  crown;  after  thus  de 
riding  him,  they  saluted  him:  Hail,  King  of  the  Jews  !  z 
and  then  they  covered  him  with  spitting  and  blows,  and 
spitting  upon  Him;  4  and  they  gave  Him  blows? 

Finally,  Jesus  Christ  willed  to  die;  but  by  what  death  ? 
ty  the  most  ignominious  death,  which  was  the  death  of 
the  cross:  He  humbled  Himself,  becoming  obedient  unto 

1  "Si  non  esset  hie  malefactor,  non  tibi  tradidissemus  eum." — 
John,  xviii.  30. 

v  "  Sprevit  ilium  .  .  .  tamquam  ignorantem,  quia  verbum  non  re- 
spondit;  tamquam  stolidum,  quia  se  non  defensavit." — In  Luc. 
xxiii. 

3  "  Ave,  Rex  Judaeorum." 

4  "Et  expuentes  in  eum." — Matt,  xxvii.  30. 
6  "Dabant  ei  alapas." — John,  xix.  3. 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Low.    133 

death,  even  to  the  death  of  the  cross.1  Any  one  who  suffered 
the  death  of  the  cross  at  that  time  was  considered  the 
vilest  and  most  wicked  of  criminals:  Cursed  is  every  one 
that  hangeth  on  a  tree?  Therefore,  the  names  of  those 
who  were  crucified  were  always  held  as  cursed  and  in 
famous;  so  that  the  Apostle  wrote:  Christ  is  made  a  curse 
for  us.3  St.  Athanasius,  commenting  on  this  passage, 
says:  "  He  is  called  a  curse,  because  he  bore  the  curse 
for  us."  4  Jesus  took  upon  himself  this  curse,  that  he 
might  save  us  from  eternal  malediction.  But  where, 
Lord,  exclaims  St.  Thomas  of  Villanova,  where  is  Thy 
beauty,  where  is  Thy  majesty  in  the  midst  of  so  much 
ignominy  ?  "  Where,  O  God,  is  Thy  glory,  where  Thy 
majesty?"5  And  he  answers:  "Ask  not,  God  has  gone 
out  of  Himself."6  And  the  saint's  meaning  was  this: 
that  we  should  not  seek  for  glory  and  majesty  in  Jesus 
Christ,  since  he  had  come  to  give  us  an  example  of  hu 
mility,  and  manifest  the  love  that  he  bears  to  wards  men; 
and  that  this  love  had  made  him,  as  it  were,  go  out  of 
himself. 

ii. 

In  the  fables  of  the  pagans,  it  is  related  that  the  god 
Hercules,  for  the  love  which  he  bore  to  the  king  Augea, 
undertook  to  tame  his  horses;  and  that  the  god  Apollo, 
out  of  love  for  Admetus,  kept  his  flocks  for  him.  These 
are  inventions  of  imagination;  but  it  is  of  faith  that 
Jesus  Christ,  the  true  Son  of  God,  for  the  love  of  men, 
humbled  himself  to  be  born  in  a  stable,  and  to  lead  a 

1  "  Humiliavit  semetipsum,  factus  obediens  usque  ad  mortem,  mor 
tem  autem  crucis." — Phil.  ii.  8. 

2  "  Maledictus  omnis  qui  pendet  in  ligno." — Gal.  iii.  13. 

3  "  Factus  pro  nobis  maledictum." — Ibid. 

4  "  Dicitur  maledictum,  quod  pro  nobis  maledictum  suscepit." 

5  "  Ubi  est,  Deus,  gloria  tua,  majestas  tua?" 

6  "  Noli  quserere;  extasim  passus  est  Deus,"— Semi,  de  Transfig. 


134  Discourses  for  tJie  Novcna  of  Christmas. 

contemptible  life,  and  in  the  end  to  die  by  the  hands  of 
executioners  on  an  infamous  gibbet.  "  O  grace !  O 
power  of  love  !"  exclaims  St.  Bernard,  "didst  Thou, 
the  Most  High,  become  the  lowest  of  all !" '  O  the 
strength  of  divine  love  !  the  greatest  of  all  has  made 
himself  the  lowest  of  all !  "  Who  did  this  ?"  rejoins  St. 
Bernard,  "  it  was  love,  regardless  of  its  dignity.2  Love 
triumphs  over  God."2  Love  does  not  consider  dignity, 
when  there  is  question  of  gaining  for  itself  the  person  it 
loves.  God,  who  can  never  be  conquered  by  any  one, 
has  been  conquered  by  love;  for  it  was  that  love  that 
compelled  him  to  make  himself  man,  and  to  sacrifice 
himself  for  the  love  of  man  in  an  ocean  of  sorrows  and 
contempt.  "  He  emptied  Himself,"  concludes  the  holy 
abbot,  "  that  thou  mayest  know  that  it  was  through  love 
that  the  Highest  made  himself  equal  to  thee."  ^  The 
divine  Word,  who  is  majesty  itself,  humbled  himself  so 
far  as  to  annihilate  himself,  that  mankind  might  know 
how  much  he  loved  them. 

Yes,  says  St.  Gregory  Nazianzen,  because  in  no  other 
way  could  he  better  show  forth  the  divine  love  than  by 
abasing  himself,  and  taking  upon  himself  the  greatest 
misery  and  ignominy  that  men  even  suffer  on  this  earth. 
"  God  could  not  otherwise  declare  his  love  for  us  than 
by  descending  for  our  sakes  to  what  was  most  low."  ; 
Richard  of  St.  Victor  adds  that  maii  having  had  the  bold 
ness  to  offend  the  majesty  of  God,  in  order  to  expiate  his 
guilt,  the  intervention  of  the  most  excessive  humiliation 

1  "  O  gratiam,  O  amoris  vim  !  itane  summus  omnium  imus  factus 
est  omnium  !" 

2  "  Fecit  amor,  dignitatis  nescius." 

3  "  Triumphal  de  Deo  amor." 

4  "  Semetipsum  exinanivit,   ut  scias  amoris  fuisse,    quod    altitude 
adsequata  est." — In  Cant.  s.  64. 

5  "  Non  aliter  Dei  amor  erga  nos  declarari  poterat,  quam  quod  nos- 
tra  causa  ad  deteriorem  partem  se  dejecerit." 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Low.    135 

was  necessary:  "  For  the  expiation  of  the  sin,  the  humili 
ation  of  the  highest  to  the  lowest  was  necessary."  '  St. 
Bernard  goes  on  to  say,  the  more  our  God  abased  him 
self,  so  much  the  more  did  he  show  forth  his  goodness 
and  love:  "  The  lower  he  showed  himself  to  be  in  human 
nature,  the  greater  did  he  declare  himself  in  goodness."  ' 
Now,  after  a  God  has  suffered  so  much  for  the  love  of 
man,  will  man  have  a  repugnance  to  humble  himself  for 
the  love  of  God  ?  Let  this  mind  be  in  you,  which  ivas  also 
in  Christ  Jesus*  He  who  is  not  humble,  and  who  does 
not  seek  to  imitate  the  humility  of  Jesus  Christ,  is  not 
worthy* of  the  name  of  Christian;  for  Jesus  Christ,  as 
St.  Augustine  says,  came  into  the  world  in  an  humble  way 
to  put  down  pride.  The  pride  of  man  was  the  disease 
which  drew  from  heaven  this  divine  physician,  which 
loaded  him  with  ignominies,  and  caused  him  to  die  on 
the  cross  Let  the  proud  man,  then,  at  least  be  ashamed 
when  he  sees  that  a  God  so  humbled  himself  in  order  to 
cure  him  of  pride:  "Because  of  this  very  vice  of  pride, 
God  came  in  humility.  This  disease  drew  him  down 
from  heaven,  humbled  him  even  to  the  form  of  a  servant, 
overwhelmed  with  calumnies,  hung  him  upon  the  cross. 
Blush,  then,  O  man,  to  be  proud,  for  whom  God  has  be 
come  humble."  4  And  St.  Peter  Damian  writes:  "To 
raise  us,  he  lowered  himself."  5  He  chose  to  abase  him 
self,  that  he  might  raise  us  out  of  the  mire  of  our  sins, 
and  might  place  us  in  the  company  of  the  angels  in 

1  "  Oportuit     ut,    ad  expiationis    remedium,     fieret    humiliatio    de 
summo  ad  imum." — De  Verbo  inc.  c.  8. 

2  "  Quanto  minorem  se  fecit  in  humanitate,  tanto  majorem  exhibuil 
in  bonhate." — In  Epiph.  D.  s.  i. 

3  "  Hoc  enimsentite  in  vobis,  quod  et  in  Christo  Jesu." — Phil.  ii.  5. 

4  "  Propter  hoc  vitium  superbiae  Deus  humilis  venit.      Iste  morbus 
Medicum  deccelo  deduxit,  usque  ad  formam  servi  humiliavit,  contu- 
meliis  egit,  ligno  suspendit.     Erubescat  homo  esse  superbus,  propter 
quern  factus  est  humilis  Deus." — ///  Ps.  xviii.  en.  2. 

5  "  Ut  nos  erigeret,  se  inclinavit." — Horn,  in  Nat,  D. 


36  Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 


heaven:  Lifting  up  the  poor  out  of  the  dunghill,  that  He  may 
place  him  with  the  princes  of  His  people?  "  His  abasement 
in  our  exaltation."  2  O  the  greatness  of  divine  love  !  ex 
claims  St.  Augustine.  For  the  sake  of  man,  a  God  takes 
upon  himself  contempt,  that  he  may  share  his  honor  with 
man.  He  makes  himself  familiar  with  grief  and  pain, 
that  man  may  have  salvation:  he  even  suffers  death,  to 
obtain  life  for  man.  "  O  wondrous  condescension  !  He 
comes  to  receive  contempt,  that  he  may  confer  honors; 
he  comes  to  be  satiated  with  grief,  that  he  may  give  sal 
vation;  he  comes  to  undergo  death,  that  he  may  give 
life."  ' 

Jesus  Christ,  by  choosing  for  himself  so  humble  a  birth, 
so  despicable  a  life,  and  so  ignominious  a  death,  has  en 
nobled  and  taken  away  all  bitterness  from  contempt  and 
opprobrium.  It  is  for  this  that  the  saints  in  this  world 
were  always  so  fond  and  even  desirous  of  being  despised; 
they  seemed  not  to  be  able  to  desire  or  seek  for  anything 
but  to  be  despised  and  trodden  underfoot  for  the  love  of 
Jesus  Christ.  When  the  divine  Wo  d.  came  upon  this 
earth,  well  was  that  prophecy  of  Isaias  fulfilled:  In  the 
dens  where  dragons  dwelt  before  shall  rise  up  the  verdure  of 
the  reed  and  the  bulrush?  That  where  the  demons,  the  spirits 
of  pride,  dwelt,  there,  at  the  sight  of  the  humility  of 
Jesus  Christ,  should  arise  the  spirit  of  humility.  "The 
verdure  of  the  reed  signifies  humility,"5  says  St.  Ugo, 
commenting  on  this  passage  ;  the  humble  man  is  empty 

-1  "  De  stercore  erigens  pauperem,  ut  collocet  eum  cum  principibus, 
cum  principibus  populi  sui." — Ps.  cxii.  7. 

2  "  Humilitas  ejus  nostra  nobilitas  est." — De  Trin.  1.  2. 

3  "  Mira  commutatio:    venit    accipere   contumelias,  dare  honores, 
venit  haurire  dolorem,  dare  salutem,  venit  subire  mortem,  dare  vi- 
tam." — In  Ps.  xxx.  en.  2. 

4  "  In  cubilibus  in  quibus  prius  dracones  habitabant,  orietur  viror 
calami." — Isa.  xxxv.  7. 

5  "  '  Calami,'  id  est,  humilitatis,  quia  humilis  est  vacuus  in  oculis 
suis." 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Low.    137 

in  his  own  eyes  ;  the  humble  are  not  full  of  themselves, 
as  the  proud  are,  but  empty,  considering  what  is  the 
truth,  that  all  they  have  is  the  gift  of  God. 

From  this  we  may  well  understand  that  an  humble 
soul  is  as  dear  to  God  as  the  proud  heart  is  odious  in 
his  eyes.  But  is  it  possible,  says  St.  Bernard,  for  peo 
ple  to  be  proud  after  seeing  the  life  of  Jesus  Christ? 
"Though  the  divine  majesty  annihilates  itself,  a  worm 
lifts  itself  up  in  pride!" 1  Is  it  possible  that  a  mere 
worm,  loaded  witli  sins,  should  be  proud,  when  he  sees 
the  God  of  infinite  majesty  and  purity  humble  himself 
so  much,  in  order  to  teach  us  to  be  humble! 

But  let  it  be  known  that  proud  people  do  not  get  on 
with  God.  St.  Augustine  thus  warns  us:  "Lift  yourself 
up,  and  God  will  depart  from  you;  humble  yourself,  and 
God  will  come  to  you."2  The  Lord  flies  from  the  proud; 
but,  on  the  contrary,  God  cannot  despise  a  heart  that 
humbles  itself,  even  though  it  should  be  a  sinful  one:  A 
contrite  and  humble  heart,  O  God,  Thou  will  not  despise? 
God  has  promised  to  hear  all  who  pray  to  him:  Ask,  ami 
it  shall  be  given  you.  .  .  .  For  every  one  that  asketh  receiveth? 
But  he  has  declared  that  he  will  not  listen  to  the  proud, 
as  St.  James  tells  us:  God  resisteth  the  proud,  and  giveth 
grace  to  the  humble.''  He  resists  the  prayers  of  the  proud, 
and  does  not  listen  to  them;  but  he  cannot  deny  any 
grace  to  the  humble,  whatever  they  may  ask.  In  fact, 
St.  Teresa  said  that  the  greatest  graces  she  had  ever 
received  were  those  which  were  granted  her  when  she 

1  "  Ubi  sese  exinanivit  Majestas,  vermiculus  intumescit  ?" — In  Nat. 
D.  s.  i. 

2  "  Erigis  te,  Deus  fugit  a  te  ;  humilias  te,  Deus  descendit  ad  te." — 
Serm.  117,  E.  B.  app. 

3  "Cor  contritum  et  humiliatum,  Deus,  non  despicies." — Ps.  1.  19. 

4  "Petite,  et  dabitur  vobis  .   .  .  ;  omnis  enim  qui  petit,  accipit." — 
Matt.  vii.  7. 

8  "  Deus  superbis  resistit,  humilibus  autem  dat  gratiam." — James, 
iv.  6. 


138  Discourses  for  the  Novena  of  Christmas. 

more  particularly  humbled  herself  in  the  presence  of 
God.  The  prayer  of  the  humble  penetrates  into  heaven 
by  its  own  efficacy,  without  needing  any  one  to  present 
it;  and  it  does  not  depart  without  obtaining  from  God 
that  which  it  desires  :  The  prayer  of  him  that  humbleth 
himself  shall  pierce  the  clouds',  .  .  .  and  he  will  not  depart 
till  the  Most  High  beholds.1 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

O  my  despised  Jesus  !  by  Thy  example  Thou  hast  done  too 
much  to  render  reproaches  and  contempt  sweet  in  the  eyes  of 
those  that  love  Thee.     But  how  is  it,  then,  that  instead  of  em 
bracing  them,  as  Thou  hast  done,  when  I  received  some  little 
contempt  from  men,  I  behaved    with  so  much  pride,  and  took 
occasion    from  it  to  offend  Thy   infinite  majesty,  sinner  and 
proud  that  I  was  ?     Ah,  Lord,  I  see  why  it  is ;  I  did  not  know 
how  to  bear  an  affront  patiently,  because  I  did  not  know  how  to 
love  Thee.      If  I  had  loved    Thee  truly,  it  would  have  been 
sweet  and  pleasing  to  me.     But  since  Thou  dost  promise  par 
don  to  him  who  repents,  I  repent  with  all  my  heart  of  all  the 
excesses  of  my  life,— a  life  so  unlike  Thine.     But  I  desire  to 
amend  ;  and  therefore  I   promise  Thee  to  be  willing  to  suffer 
patiently  from  this  day  forward  all  the  contempt  to  which  I 
shall  be  subject,  for  Thy  love,  O  my  Jesus !  who  wast  so  much 
despised  for  the  love  of  me.     I  understand  that  humiliations 
are  precious  mines  by  which  Thou  dost  enrich  souls  with  eternal 
treasures.     I  deserve  other  humiliations  and  other  reproaches 
for  having  despised  Thy  grace  ;  I  deserve  to  be  trampled  on  by 
the  devils.    But  Thy  merits  are  my  hope.    I  will  change  my  life, 
and  will  no  longer  displease  Thee;  henceforth  I  will  seek  for 
nothing  but  Thy  divine  pleasure.     I  have  deserved  many  times 
to  be  sent  to  burn   in  hell-fire  ;  Thou  hast  waited  for  me  till 
now,  and,  as  I  hope,  hast  pardoned  me ;  grant,  therefore,  that 
instead  of  burning  in  that  unhappy  flame,  I  may  be  inflamed 
with  the  blessed  fire  of  Thy  holy  love.     No,  I  will  no  longer 
live  without  loving  Thee.     Help  me  ;  let  me  not  live  any  more 
ungrateful  to  Thee,  as  I  have  hitherto  done.     For  the  future  I 

"Oratio  humiliantis  se  nubes  penetrabit  .   .  .;  et  non  discedet, 
donee  Altissimus  aspiciat." — Ecclus.  xxxv.  21. 


The  Eternal  Word  made  Himself  Low.    \  39 

will  love  Thee  only;  I  desire  that  my  heart  should  belong  to 
Thee  alone.  Ah,  take  possession  of  it,  and  keep  it  forever, 
that  I  may  be  always  Thine,  and  Thou  mayest  be  always  mine ; 
that  I  may  love  Thee  ;  and  Thou  mayst  love  me  forever.  Yes, 
this  is  my  hope,  O  my  God!  that  I  shall  always  love  Thee,  and  that 
Thou  wilt  always  love  me.  I  believe  in  Thee,  Infinite  Goodness  ; 
I  hope  in  Thee,  Infinite  Goodness;  I  love  Thee,  Infinite  Good 
ness  ;  I  love  Thee,  and  I  will  say  always  I  love  Thee,  I  love 
Thee,  I  love  Thee,  and  because  I  love  Thee,  I  will  do  all  I  can 
to  please  Thee.  Dispose  of  me  as  Thou  wilt.  All  I  ask  is,  that 
Thou  wouldst  give  me  grace  to  love  Thee,  and  then  do  with  me 
as  Thou  pleasest.  Thy  love  is,  and  always  shall  be,  my  only 
treasure,  my  only  desire,  my  only  good,  my  only  love.  Mary, 
my  hope,  Mother  of  beautiful  love,  do  thou  help  me  in  loving 
the  God  of  love  with  all  my  heart  and  forever. 


1-40  The  Birth  of  Christ. 


^discourse  for  Christmas  Nigljt— ipe  Birtl)  of  Jesus 

(Etyrist. 

Evangelizo  vobis  gaudium  magnum  .   ,  .  quiet  natus  est  vobis  hodie  Salvator. 

"  I  bring  you  good  tidings  of  great  joy,  ....  for  this  day  is  born  to  you 
a  Saviour." — St  Luke  ii.  10,  n. 

/  bring  you  good  tidings  of  great  joy}  Thus  said  the 
angel  to  the  shepherds,  and  thus  do  I  say  to  you,  O  de 
vout  souls!  on  this  night.  I  bring  you  tidings  of  great 
joy.  And  what  tidings  could  be  a  greater  joy  to  a  nation 
of  poor  exiles,  condemned  to  death,  than  for  them  to 
be  told  that  their  Saviour  had  come,  not  only  to  deliver 
them  from  death,  but  also  to  obtain  for  them  permission 
to  return  to  their  country  ?  And  this  is  what  I  announce 
to  you  this  night  :  A  Saviour  is  born  to  you?  Jesus  Christ 
is  born  ;  and  he  is  born  for  you,  to  deliver  you  from 
everlasting  death,  and  to  open  to  you  heaven,  which  is 
our  country,  and  from  which  we  had  been  banished  in 
punishment  for  our  sins. 

But  in  order  that  you  should  show  your  gratitude 
from  this  time  forth,  by  loving  your  new-born  Redeem 
er,  allow  me  to  set  him  before  your  eyes  ;  let  me  show 
you  where  he  was  born,  and  where  he  may  be  found 
on  this  night,  that  you  may  go  to  him  and  thank  him  for 
so  great  a  favor,  and  for  his  great  love.  Let  us  ask  for 
light  from  Jesus  and  Mary. 

I. 

Let  me,  then,  briefly  relate  to  you  the  history  of  the 
birth  of  this  King  of  the  world,  who  came  down  from 
heaven  for  your  salvation. 

1  "  Evangelize  vobis  gaudium  magnum." 

2  "  Natus  est  vobis  hodie  Salvator." 


Discourse  for  Christmas  Night.  141 

Octavius  Augustus,  the  Emperor  of  Rome,  wishing  to 
know  the  strength  of  his  empire,  decreed  that  there 
be  a  general  numbering  of  all  his  subjects;  and  for 
this  purpose  he  ordered  all  the  governors  of  the  prov* 
inces— and,  among  the  rest,  Cyrinus,  governor  of  Judea- 
to  make  every  one  come  to  enroll  himself,  and  at  the 
same  time  pay  a  certain  tribute  as  a  sign  of  vassalage  : 
There  went  out  a  decree  .  .  .  that  the  whole  world  should  be  en 
rolled,'  As  soon  as  this  decree  was  promulgated,  Joseph 
obeys  immediately  ;  he  does  not  even  wait  till  his  holy 
spouse  should  be  delivered,  though  she  was  near  her 
time.  I  say  he  obeyed  immediately,  and  set  out  on  his 
journey  with  Mary,  then  pregnant  with  the  divine  Word, 
to  go  and  enroll  himself  in  the  city  of  Bethlehem:  fc  be  en 
rolled  with  Mary  his  espoused  wife,  who  was  with  child.'1  The 
journey  was  a  long  one— for,  according  to  some  authors, 
it  was  ninety  leagues  ;  that  is  to  say,  four  days— long 
and  difficult',  for  they  had  to  traverse  mountains  and 
steep  paths,  through  the  wind,  the  rain,  and  the  cold. 

When  a  king  makes  his  first  entry  into  a  city  of  his 
kingdom,  what  honors  are  not  prepared  for  him!  what 
preparations  are  not  made,  and  triumphal  arches  erected! 
Do  thou  then,  O  happy  Bethlehem!  prepare  thyself  to  re 
ceive  thy  King  with  honor;  for  the  prophet  Micheas  has 
told  thee  that  he  is  coming  to  thee,  and  that  he  is  Lord 
not  only  of  all  Judea,  but  of  the  whole  world.  And 
know,  says  the  prophet,  thou,  out  of  all  the  cities  of  the 
earth,  art  the  fortunate  one  that  has  been  chosen  by  the 
King  of  heaven  for  his  birthplace,  that  he  may  after 
wards  reign,  not  indeed  in  Judea,  but  in  the  hearts  of 
men  who  live  in  Judea  and  in  all  the  rest  of  the  world: 
And  thou,  Bethlehem  Ephrata,  art  a  little  one  among  the  thou- 

1  "  Exiit  edictum  a  Casare  Augusto  ut  describeretur  uni versus  or- 

bis." — Luke,  ii.  i.  „ 

8  "  Ut  profiteretur  cum  Maria  desponsata  sibi  uxore  prsegnante. 

—Lu&e,  ii.  5. 


1 42  The  Birth  of  Christ. 

sands  of  Judea:  out  of  thee  shall  He  come  forth  that  is  to  be 
ruler  in  Israel.1  But  behold  these  two  illustrious  pil 
grims,  Joseph  and  Mary,  who  bears  within  her  womb 
the  Saviour  of  the  world,  are  about  to  enter  into  Bethle 
hem.  They  enter  and  go  to  the  house  of  the  imperial 
minister  to  pay  the  tribute,  and  to  enroll  themselves  in 
the  book  as  subjects  of  Caesar,  where  they  also  inscribed 
the  offspring  of  Mary,  namely,  Jesus  Christ,  who  was 
the  Lord  of  Caesar  and  of  all  the  princes  of  the  earth. 
But  who  acknowledges  them  ?  Who  goes  before  them 
to  show  them  honor?  who  salutes  them,  and  who  receives 
them  ?  He  came  unto  His  own,  and  His  own  received  Him 
not?  They  travel  like  poor  people,  and  as  such  they  are 
despised;  they  are  treated  even  worse  than  the  other 
poor,  and  are  driven  away.  Yes;  for  it  came  to  pass  when 
they  were  there  her  days  were  accomplished  that  she  should  be 
delivered*  Mary  knew  that  the  time  of  her  delivery  was 
come,  and  that  it  was  here,  and  on  that  night,  that  the 
Incarnate  Word  willed  to  be  born,  and  to  manifest  him 
self  to  the  world.  She  therefore  told  Joseph,  and  he 
hastened  to  procure  some  lodging  in  the  houses  of  the 
townspeople,  so  as  not  to  take  his  spouse  to  the  inn  to 
be  delivered,  as  it  was  not  a  decent  place  for  her  to  be 
in;  besides  which,  it  was  then  full  of  people.  But  he 
found  not  any  one  to  listen  to  him;  and  very  likely  he 
was  insulted,  and  called  a  fool  by  some  of  them,  for  tak 
ing  his  wife  about  at  that  time  of  night,  and  in  such  a 
crowd  of  people,  when  she  was  near  her  delivery;  so  that 
at  last  he  was  obliged,  unless  he  would  remain  all  night 
in  the  street,  to  take  her  to  the  public  inn,  where  there 
were  many  other  poor  people  lodging  that  night.  He 

1  "Etui,  Bethlehem  Ephrata,  parvulus  es  in  millibus  Juda;  ex  te 
mihi  egredietur,  qui  sit  Dominator  in  Israel." — Mich.  v.  2. 

"In  propria  venit,  et  sui  eum  non  receperunt." — John,  i.  n. 

3  "Factum  est  autem,  cum  essent  ibi,  impleti  sunt  dies  utpareret." 
— Luke,  ii.  6. 


Discourse  for  Christmas  Night.  143 

went  there;  but  they  were  refused  admittance  even  there, 
and  they  were  told  that  there  was  no  room  for  them: 
There  was  no  room  for  them  in  the  inn?  There  was  room 
for  all,  even  for  the  lowest,  but  not  for  Jesus  Christ. 

That  inn  was  a  figure  of  those  ungrateful  hearts  where 
many  find  room  for  miserable  creatures,  but  not  for 
God.  How  many  love  their  relatives,  their  friends,  even 
animals,  but  do  not  love  Jesus  Christ,  and  care  neither 
for  his  grace  nor  his  love  !  But  the  ever-blessed  Mary 
said  once  to  a  devout  soul:  "  It  was  the  dispensation  of 
God  that  neither  I  nor  my  Son  should  find  a  lodging 
amongst  men,  that  those  souls  who  love  Jesus  might 
offer  themselves  as  a  lodging-place,  and  might  affection 
ately  invite  him  to  come  into  their  hearts." 

But  let  us  go  on  with  the  history.  These  poor  travel 
lers,  then  seeing  themselves  repulsed  on  every  side,  leave 
the  city  to  try  and  find  some  place  of  refuge  without  its 
walls.  They  walk  on  in  the  dark;  they  go  round  about 
and  examine,  till  at  last  they  see  a  grotto,  which  was  cut 
out  of  stone  in  the  mountain  under  the  city.  Barradas, 
Bede,  and  Brocardus  say  that  the  place  where  Jesus 
Christ  was  born  was  a  rock  that  had  been  excavated 
under  the  walls  of  Bethlehem,  divided  off  from  the  city, 
and  like  a  cavern,  and  which  served  as  a  stable  for  cat 
tle.  When  they  came  to  it,  Mary  said  to  Joseph:  "There 
is  no  occasion  to  go  any  farther;  let  us  go  into  this  cave 
and  remain  there."  "What!"  replied  Joseph;  "my 
spouse,  dost  thou  not  see  that  this  cave  is  quite  exposed: 
that  it  is  cold  and  damp,  and  that  water  is  running  down 
on  all  sides  ?  Dost  thou  not  see  that  it  is  no  lodging  for 
men,  but  it  is  a  shed  for  beasts  ?  How  can  you  stop 
here  all  night,  and  be  delivered  here  ?"  Then  Mary  said, 
"It  is  nevertheless  true  that  this  stable  is  the  regal 
palace  in  which  the  Eternal  Son  of  God  desires  to  be 
born  on  earth." 

1  "Non  erat  eis  locus  in  diversorlo." — Luke,  ii.  7. 


1 44  The  Birth  of  Christ. 

Oh,  wfiat  must  the  angels  have  said  when  they  saw 
the  divine  Mother  enter  into  this  cave  to  bring  forth  her 
Son  !  The  sons  of  princes  are  born  in  rooms  adorned 
with  gold;  they  have  cradles  enriched  with  precious 
stones,  fine  clothes,  a  retinue  of  the  first  lords  of  the 
kingdom;  and  has  the  King  of  heaven  nothing  but  a 
cold  stable  without  a  fire  to  be  born  in,  some  poor  swad 
dling-clothes  to  cover  him,  a  little  straw  for  his  bed,  and 
a  vile  manger  to  lie  in  ?  "  Where  is  the  palace,"  asks  St. 
Bernard,  "where  is  the  throne?"1  Where,  says  the 
saint,  is  the  court,  where  is  the  royal  palace  for  this  King 
of  heaven  ?  for  I  see  nothing  but  two  animals  to  keep 
him  company,  and  a  manger  for  cattle,  where  he  must  be 
laid.  O  happy  grotto,  that  witnessed  the  birth  of  the 
divine  Word  !  Happy  manger,  to  have  had  the  honor 
of  receiving  the  Lord  of  heaven  !  Happy  straw,  which 
served  as  a  bed  to  him  who  sits  on  the  shoulders  of  the 
seraphim  !  All,  when  we  think  of  the  birth  of  Jesus 
Christ,  and  of  the  manner  in  which  it  took  place,  we 
ought  all  to  be  inflamed  with  love;  and  when  we  hear 
the  names  of  cave,  manger,  straw,  milk,  tears,  in  refer 
ence  to  the  birth  of  the  Redeemer,  these  names  ought 
to  be  so  many  incitements  to  our  love,  and  arrows  to 
wound  our  hearts.  Yes,  happy  was  that  grotto,  that 
crib,  that  straw;  but  still  happier  are  those  souls  who 
love  this  amiable  Lord  with  fervor  and  tenderness,  and 
who  receive  him  in  the  Holy  Communion  into  hearts 
burning  with  love.  Oh,  with  what  desire  and  pleasure 
does  Jesus  Christ  enter  into  and  repose  in  a  heart  that 
loves  him  ! 

n. 

No  sooner  had  Mary  entered  into  the  cavern  than  she 
began  immediately  to  pray;  and  the  hour  of  her  delivery 
being  come,  she  loosened  her  hair,  out  of  reverence, 

1  "  Ubi  aula?  ubi  thronus  ?" 


Discourse  for  Christmas  Night.  145 

spreading  it  over  her  shoulders;  and  behold  she  sees  a 
great  light,  she  feels  in  her  heart  a  heavenly  joy  !  She 
casts  down  her  eyes;  and,  O  God  !  what  does  she  see  ?  She 
sees  on  the  ground  an  infant,  so  tender  and  beautiful 
that  he  fills  her  with  love;  but  he  trembles,  he  cries,  and 
stretches  out  his  arms  to  show  that  he  desires  she  should 
take  him  into  her  bosom:  "  I  stretched  forth  my  arms  to 
seek  the  caresses  of  my  mother,"1  according  to  the  reve 
lation  of  St.  Bridget.  Mary  calls  Joseph.  "  Come,  Joseph," 
she  said,  "come  and  see;  for  the  Son  of  God  is  now 
born."  Joseph  comes;  and  when  he  sees  Jesus  already 
born,  he  adores  him  in  the  midst  of  a  torrent  of  sweet 
tears:  "The  old  man  entered,  and,  prostrating  himself, 
wept  for  joy."  2  Then  the  Blessed  Virgin  reverently  took 
her  beloved  Son  in  her  arms,  and  placed  him  in  her 
bosom.  She  tried  to  warm  him  by  the  heat  of  her  cheeks 
and  of  her  bosom:  "Pressing  him  to  her  cheeks  and 
bosom,  she  warmed  him  with  all  the  joy  and  tenderness 
of  a  mother's  love."3 

Consider  the  devotion,  the  tenderness,  the  love  which 
Mary  felt  at  seeing  in  her  arms  and  on  her  breast  the 
Lord  of  the  world,  the  Son  of  the  Eternal  Father,  who 
had  deigned  even  to  become  her  Son,  choosing  her  from 
amongst  all  women  to  be  his  Mother.  Mary,  now  hold 
ing  him  to  her  bosom,  adores  him  as  God,  kissing  his 
feet  as  her  king,  and  then  his  face  as  her  Son.  Then  she 
hastily  seeks  to  cover  him,  and  wraps  him  up  in  swad 
dling-clothes.  But,O  God!  how  hard  and  rough  are  those 
clothes;  for  they  are  clothes  of  the  poor,  and  they  are 
cold  and  damp,  and  in  that  cave  there  is  no  fire  to  warm 
them  by  ! 

Come,  ye  monarchs  and  emperors,  come,  all  ye  princes 

1  "Extendebat  membra,  quserens  Matris  favorem." 

2  "Intravit  senex,  et,  prosternens  se,  plorabat  prae  gaudio." 

3  "  Maxilla  et  pectore  calefaciebat  eum  cum  Isetitia  et  tenera  cpm- 
passione  materna." — Rev.  1.  7,  c.  21. 


10 


146  The  Birth  of  Christ. 

of  the  world,  come  and  adore  your  highest  King,  who 
for  your  love  is  now  born;  and  born  in  such  poverty  in 
a  cave.  But  who  appears  ?  No  one.  He  came  unto  His 
own,  and  His  own  received  Him  not.1  Ah  !  the  Son  of  God 
has  indeed  come  into  the  world;  but  the  world  will  not 
know  him. 

But  if  men  do  not  come,  the  angels  draw  near  to  adore 
their  Lord.  Thus  did  the  Eternal  Father  ordain  for  the 
honor  of  his  Son:  And  let  all  tJie  angels  of  God  adore  Him? 
They  come  in  great  numbers  and  praise  their  God,  sing 
ing  with  great  "joy,  Glory  to  God  in  the  highest;  and  on 
earth  peace  to  men  of  good-will*  Glory  to  the- divine 
mercy,  which,  instead  of  chastising  rebellious  men,  causes 
this  same  God  to  take  upon  himself  their  punishment, 
and  so  to  save  them.  Glory  to  the  divine  wisdom,  which 
has  devised  a  means  of  satisfying  his  justice,  and  at  the 
same  time  of  delivering  man  from  the  death  he  had  de 
served.  Glory  to  the  divine  power,  destroying  in  so 
signal  a  manner  the  powers  of  hell,  by  the  divine  Word 
coming  in  poverty  lo  suffer  pains,  contempt,  and  death; 
and  thus  to  draw  the  hearts  of  men  to  himself,  and  to 
leave  everything  for  his  sake, — honors,  riches,  and  life; 
as  so  many  virgins  and  young  men  have  done,  and  even 
nobles  and  princes,  to  show  their  gratitude  for  the  love 
of  this  God.  Finally,  glory  to  the  divine  love,  which 
induced  God  to  become  a  little  child,  poor  and  lowly,  to 
live  a  hard  life,  and  to  die  a  cruel  death,  in  order  to 
show  man  the  love  which  he  bea'-s  him,  to  gain  his  love 
in  return.  "In  the  stable  wre  see  power  reduced  to  impo 
tence,  and  wisdom  become  mad  through  excess  of  love."  4 

1  "  In   mundo  erat  .  .  .  ,   et  mundus   eum   non   cognovit." — John, 
i.  10. 

2  "  Et  adorent  eum  omnes  Angeli  Dei." — Heb.  i.  6. 

3  "  Gloria  in  altissimis  Deo,  et  in  terra  pax  hominibus  bonae  vo- 
luntatis." — Luke,  ii.  14. 

4  "  Agnoscimus    in   stabulo    exinanitam    Majestatem,   Sapientiam 
amoris  nimietate  infatuatam.'* — Serm.  in  Nat.  D. 


Discourse  for  Christinas  Night.  147 

We  see,  in  this  stable,  says  St.  Laurence  Justinian,  the 
power  of  God,  as.  it  were,  annihilated;  we  see  God,  who 
is  wisdom  itself,  become  as  it  were  a  fool  through  the 
excess  of  love  which  he  bears  to  men. 

in. 

Arise,  all  ye  nobles  and  peasants;  Mary  invites  all,  rich 
and  poor,  just  and  sinners,  to  enter  the  cave  of  Bethlehem, 
to  adore  and  to  kiss  the  feet  of  her  new-born  Son.  Go  in, 
then,  all  ye  devout  souls;  go  and  see  the  Creator  of 
heaven  and  earth  on  a  little  hay,  under  the  form  of  a 
little  Infant;  but  so  beautiful  that  he  sheds  all  around 
rays  of  light.  Now  that  he  is  born  and  is  lying  on  the 
straw,  the  cave  is  no  longer  horrible,  but  is  become  a 
paradise.  Let  us  enter;  let  us  not  be  afraid. 

Jesus  is  born;  he  is  born  for  all,  for  each  one  who  desires 
him:  I  am  the  Flower  of  the  field  (zs  he  tells  us  in  the  Canti 
cles)  and  the  Lily  of  the  valley.1  He  calls  himself  the  lily  of 
the  valley  to  show  us  that  as  he  was  born  in  so  great  hu 
mility,  so  it  is  only  the  humble  who  find  him;  therefore  the 
angel  did  not  go  and  announce  the  birth  of  Jesus  Christ 
to  Caesar  or  to  Herod,  but  to  poor  humble  shepherds.  He 
also  calls  himself  the  flower  of  the  field,  hecause  he 
shows  himself  forth  so  as  to  be  seen  by  all:  /  am  the 
Flower  of  the  field ?  upon  which  Cardinal  Hugo  comment 
ing  says,  "  Because  I  allow  myself  to  be  found  by  all." 
Flowers  in  gardens  are  shut  up  and  enclosed  between 
walls,  nor  is  every  one  permitted  to  come  and  gather 
them;  whereas  the  flowers  of  the  field  are  open  to  all, 
and  anyone  who  likes  may  take  them;  and  so  does  Jesus 
Christ  desire  to  be  accessible  to  all  who  desire  him. 

Let  us  arise  and  enter,  the  door  is  open;  "There  are 
no  satellites,"  says  St.  Peter  Chrysologus,  "  to  say  that 

1  "Ego  Flos  campi  et  Lilium  convallium." — Cant.  ii.  i. 

2  "  Ego  Flos  campi  quia  palam  me  exhibeo  omnibus  ad  invenien 
dum." 


148  The  Birth  of  Christ. 

this  is  not  the  time."1  Monarchs  are  shut  up  in  their 
palaces,  and  the  palaces  are  surrounded  with  soldiers;  it 
is  not  easy  to  have  audiences  with  princes;  those  who 
would  speak  to  them  must  expect  to  have  their  patience 
tried;  they  will  often  be  sent  away  and  told  to  come 
again, — that  this  is  not  the  hour  of  audience.  Jesus 
Christ  does  not  do  so;  he  remains  in  that  cave;  and  he  is 
there  as  a  little  child,  attracting  all  who  come  to  seek 
him;  and  the  cave  is  open  without  guards  and  without 
doors;  so  that  all  may  go  in  when  they  please  to  seek 
him  and  speak  to  him;  and  even  to  embrace  this  Infant 
King,  if  they  love  him  and  desire  him. 

Let  every  soul,  then,  enter.  Behold  and  see  that 
tender  Infant,  who  is  weeping  as  he  lies  in  the  manger 
on  that  miserable  straw.  See  how  beautiful  he  is;  look 
at  the  light  which  he  sends  forth,  and  the  love  which  he 
breathes;  those  eyes  send  out  arrows  which  wound  the 
hearts  that  desire  him;  the  very  stable,  the  very  straw, 
cry  out,2  says  St.  Bernard,  and  tell  you  to  love  him  who 
loves  you;  to  love  God,  who  is  infinite  love;  and  who 
came  down  from  heaven,  and  made  himself  a  little  child, 
and  became  poor,  to  make  you  understand  the  love  he 
bears  you,  and  to  gain  your  love  by  his  sufferings. 

Come  and  say  to  him:  "  Ah,  beautiful  Infant!  tell  me 
whose  child  art  Thou  ?"  He  replies:  "  My  Mother  is  this 
pure  and  lovely  Virgin  who  is  standing  by  me."  And 
who  is  thy  Father?  "My  Father,"  he  says,  "is  God." 
How  is  this  ?  Thou  art  the  Son  of  God,  and  art  so  poor; 
and  why?  Who  will  acknowledge  Thee  in  such  a  con 
dition  ?  Who  will  respect  Thee?  "  No,"  replies  Jesus, 
"holy  faith  will  make  known  who  I  am,  and  will  make 
me  loved  by  those  souls  whom  I  carne  to  redeem  and  to 
inflame  with  my  love."  I  am  not  come,  says  he,  to  make 
myself  feared,  but  to  make  myself  loved;  and  therefore  I 

''  Non  est  satelles  qui  dicat:  Non  est  hora." — In  Ps.  iv. 
*  "  Clamat  stabulum,  clamat  praesepe. "— In  Nat.  D.  s.  5. 


Discourse  for  Christmas  Night.          149 

wished  to  show  myself  to  you  for  the  first  time  as  a  poor 
and  humble  Infant,  that,  seeing  to  what  my  love  for  you 
has  reduced  me,  you  might  love  me  the  more.  But  tell 
me,  my  sweet  Infant,  why  dost  Thou  turn  Thine  eyes 
on  every  side  ?  What  art  Thou  looking  for  ?  I  hear 
Thee  sigh;  tell  me  wherefore  are  these  sighs  ?  O  God! 
I  hear  Thee  weep;  tell  me  wherefore  dost  Thou  weep? 
Yes,  replies  Jesus,  I  turn  my  eyes  around;  for  I  am  seek 
ing  for  some  soul  that  desires  me.  I  sigh  out  of  desire 
to  see  myself  near  to  a  heart  that  burns  for  me,  as  I  burn 
with  love  for  it.  But  I  weep;  and  it  is  because  I  do  not 
see,  or  I  see  but  few  souls,  who  seek  me  and  wish  to 
love  me. 

Exhortation  during  the  Kissing  of  the  Feet  of  the  Holy  Infant, 
which  is  a  Practice  observed  in  some  Churches. 

Now  then,  O  all  ye  devout  souls,  does  Jesus  invite 
you  to  come  and  kiss  his  feet  this  night.  The  shepherds 
who  came  to  visit  him  in  the  stable  of  Bethlehem -brought 
their  gifts;  you  must  also  bring  your  gifts.  What  will 
you  bring  him?  Listen  to  me;  the  most  acceptable 
present  you  can  bring  him  is  that  of  a  contrite  and  lov 
ing  heart.  Let  each  one  then  say  to  him  before  he 
comes: 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

Lord,  I  should  not  have  dared  to  approach  Thee,  seeing  my 
self  so  deformed  by  my  sins;  but  since^Thou,  my  Jesus,  dost 
invite  me  so  courteously,  and  dost  call  me  so  lovingly,  I  will  not 
refuse.  After  having  so  many  times  turned  my  back  upon  Thee, 
I  will  not  add  this  fresh  insult,  namely,  that  of  refusing  this 
affectionate,  this  loving  invitation,  out  of  distrust.  Say  to  him, 
Thou  must  know  that  I  am  poor,  and  that  I  have  nothing  to  give 
Thee.  I  have  nothing  but  this  heart;  this  I  now  offer  to  Thee. 
It  is  true  that  this  my  heart  offended  Thee  at  one  time;  but 
now  it  is  penitent,  and  I  bring  it  to  Thee  penitent.  Yes,  O  In 
fant  !  I  repent  of  having  offended  Thee.  I  confess  that  I  have 
been  a  traitor,  cruel  and  ungrateful ;  that  it  is  I  who  have  caused 


1 50  The  Birth  of  Christ. 

Thee  to  suffer  so  much,  and  who  have  made  Thee  shed  so  many 
tears  in  the  stable  of  Bethlehem  ;  but  Thy  tears  are  my  hope. 
I  am  a  sinner,  it  is  true,  and  I  do  not  deserve  to  be  pardoned  ; 
but  I  come  before  Thee,  who,  being  God,  hast  become  a  little 
child  to  obtain  pardon  for  me.  Eternal  Father,  if  I  merit  hell, 
look  at  the  tears  of  Thy  innocent  Son  ;  they  invoke  Thy  pardon 
in  my  behalf.  Thou  dost  deny  nothing  to  the  prayers  of  Thy 
Son.  Listen  to  him,  then,  now  that  he  asks  Thee  to  pardon  me 
on  this  night, — the  night  of  joy,  the  night  of  salvation,  the  night 
of  pardon.  Ah,  my  Infant  Jesus,  I  hope  for  pardon  from  Thee ; 
but  the  forgiveness  of  my  sins  alone  is  not  sufficient  for  me. 
On  this  night  Thou  dost  grant  great  spiritual  graces ;  I  also  de 
sire  that  Thou  shouldst  bestow  a  great  grace  on  me, — it  is,  the 
grace  to  love  Thee.  Now  that  I  am  about  to  approach  Thy 
feet,  inflame  me  wholly  with  Thy  holy  love,  and  bind  me  to 
Thee ;  but  bind  me  so  effectually  that  I  may  nevermore  be 
separated  from  Thee.  I  love  Thee,  O  my  God,  who  didst  be 
come  a  little  child  for  my  sake;  but  I  love  Thee  very  little;  I 
desire  to  love  Thee  very  much,  and  thou  hast  to  enable  me  to 
do  it.  I  come,  then,  to  kiss  Thy  feet,  and  I  offer  Thee  my  heart ; 
I  leave  it  in  Thy  hands ;  I  will  have  it  no  longer ;  do  Thou 
change  it,  and  keep  it  forever;  do  not  give  it  back  to  me  again  ; 
for  if  Thou  dost,  I  fear  lest  it  should  betray  Thee  afresh. 

Most  holy  Mary,  thou  who  art  the  Mother  of  this  great  Son, 
but  who  art  also  my  Mother,  it  is  to  thee  that  I  consecrate  my 
poor  heart ;  present  it  to  Jesus  ;  and  he  will  not  refuse  to  receive 
it,  when  presented  by  thee.  Do  thou,  then,  present  it,  and  beg 
him  to  accept  it. 


Discourse  on  the  Name  of  Jesus.          151 


Discourse  an  tlje  Name  of 

Vocatum  est  nomen  fjus  Jesus. 
"  His  Name  was  called  Jesus." — St.  Luke,  ii.  21. 

This  great  name  of  Jesus  was  not  given  by  man,  but 
by  God  himself  ;  "  The  name  of  Jesus,"  says  St.  Bernard, 
u  was  first  preordained  by  God."  :  It  was  a  new  name  : 
A  new  Name,  which  the  mouth  of  the  Lord  shall  name?  A  new 
name,  which  God  alone  could  give  to  him  whom  he  des 
tined  for  the  Saviour  of  the  world.  A  new  and  an  eternal 
name;  because,  as  our  salvation  was  decreed  from  all 
eternity,  so  from  all  eternity  was  this  name  given  to  the 
Redeemer.  Nevertheless  this  name  was  only  bestowed 
on  Jesus  Christ  in  this  world  on  the  day  of  his  circum 
cision:  And  after  eight  days  were  accomplished  that  the  child 
should  be  circumcised,  His  name  was  called  Jesus?  The 
Eternal  Father  wished  at  that  time  to  reward  the  hu 
mility  of  his  Son  by  giving  him  so  honorable  a  name. 
Yes,  while  Jesus  humbles  himself,  submitting  in  his  cir 
cumcision  to  be  branded  with  the  mark  of  a  sinner,  it  is 
just  that  his  Father  should  honor  him  by  giving  him  a 
name  that  exceeds  the  dignity  and  sublimity  of  any  other 
name:  God  hath  given  Him  a  Name  which  is  above  all  names* 
And  he  commands  that  this  name  should  be  adored  by  the 
angels,  by  men,  and  by  devils  :  That  in  the  Name  of  Jesus 
every  knee  should  bow  of  those  that  are  in  heaven,  on  earth,  and 
under  the  eartli?  If,  then,  all  creatures  are  to  adore  this 

1  "Nomen  Jesus  prime  fuit  a  Patre  praenominatum." — T.  ii.  s.  49. 

2  "Nomen  novum,  quod  os  Domini  nominabit." — Isa.  Ixii.  2. 

3  "  Et  postquam  consummati  sunt  dies  octo,  ut  circumcideretur  puer, 
vocatum  est  nomen  ejus  Jesus." 

4  "  Donavit  illi  nomen  quod  est  super  omne  nomen." — Phil.  ii.  9. 

5  "  Ut  in  nomine  Jesu  omne  genu  flectatur,  coslestiurn,  terrestrium, 
et  infernorum."— Phil.  ii.  10. 


152         Discourse  on  the  Name  of  Jesus. 

great  name,  still  more  ought  we  sinners  to  adore  it,  since  it 
was  in  our  behalf  that  this  name  of  Jesus,  which  signifies 
Saviour,  was  given  to  him;  and  for  this  end  also  he  came 
down  from  heaven,  namely,  to  save  sinners:  "  For  us  men 
and  for  our  salvation  he  came  down  from  heaven,  and 
was  made  man."1  We  ought  to  adore  him,  and  at  the 
same  time  to  thank  God  who  has  given  him  this  name  for 
our  good;  for  it  is  this  name  that  consoles  us,  defends 
us,  and  makes  us  burn  with  love.  This  will  form  the 
three  points  of  our  discourse.  Let  us  consider  them;  but 
first  let  us  beg  for  light  from  Jesus  and  Mary. 


In  the  first  place,  the  name  of  Jesus  consoles  us;  for 
when  we  invoke  Jesus,  we  find  relief  in  all  our  afflictions. 
When  we  have  recourse  to  Jesus,  he  wishes  to  console 
us,  because  he  loves  us;  and  he  can  do  so,  because  he  is 
not  only  man,  but  he  is  also  the  Omnipotent  God;  other 
wise  he  could  not  properly  have  this  great  name  of  Sa 
viour.  The  name  of  Jesus  signifies  that  the  bearer  of  it 
is  of  an  infinite  power,  infinite  wisdom,  and  infinite  love; 
so  that  if  Jesus  Christ  had  not  united  in  himself  all  these 
perfections,  he  could  not  have  saved  us:  "If  any  one  of 
these,"  says  St.  Bernard,  "  had  been  wanting,  Thou 
couldst  not  call  Thyself  Saviour."'  Thus,  when  speak 
ing  of  the  circumcision,  the  saint  says:  "  He  was  circum 
cised  as  being  the  Son  of  Abraham,  he  was  called  Jesus 
as  being  the  Son  of  God."  3  He  is  branded  as  man  with 
the  mark  of  sin,  having  taken  upon  himself  the  burden 
of  atoning  for  sinners;  and  from  his  very  infancy  he  be- 

1  "  Propter  nos  homines,  et  propter  nostram  salutem,  descendit  de 
coelis  .  .  .,  et  homo  factus  est." — Symb.  NIC. 

'2  "Nee  omnino  aut  vocari  posset  aut  esse  Salvator,  si  forte  quip- 
piam  horum  defuisset." — In  Circ.  s.  2. 

3  "  Circumciditur  tarnquam  Filius  Abrahae;  Jesus  vocatur  tamquam 
Filius  Dei." — In  Circ.  s.  I. 


Discourse  on  the  Name  of  Jesus.         153 

gan,  to  satisfy  for  their  crimes,  by  suffering  and  shed 
ding  his  blood;  but  he  is  called  Jesus,  he  is  called  the 
Saviour,  inasmuch  as  he  is  the  Son  o£  God,  because  to 
God  alone  does  the  office  of  salvation  belong. 

The  name  of  Jesus  is  said  by  the  Holy  Spirit  to  be 
like  oil  poured  out:  Thy  name  is  as  oil  poured  out?  And 
so  indeed  it  is,  says  St.  Bernard;  for  as  oil  serves  for 
light,  for  food,  and  for  medicine,  so  especially  the  name 
of  Jesus  is  light:  "it  is  a  light  when  preached."2  And 
how  was  it,  says  the  saint,  that  the  light  of  faith  shone 
forth  so  suddenly  in  the  world  so  that  in  a  short  time  so 
many  Gentile  nations  knew  the  true  God,  and  became 
his  followers,  if  it  was  not  through  hearing  the  name  of 
Jesus  preached  ?  "  Whence,  think  you,  shone  forth  in 
the  whole  world,  so  bright  and  so  sudden,  the  light  of 
faith,  except  from  the  preaching  of  the  name  of  Jesus  ?"  ' 
Through  this  name  we  have  been  happily  made  sons  of 
the  true  light,  that  is,  sons  of  the  Holy  Curch;  since  we 
were  so  fortunate  as  to  be  born  in  the  bosom  of  the 
Roman  Church,  in  Christian  and  Catholic  kingdoms, — 
a  grace  which  has  not  been  granted  to  the  greater  part 
of  men,  who  are  born  amongst  idolaters,  Mahometans,  or 
heretics.  Further,  the  name  of  Jesus  is  a  food  that 
nourishes  our  souls.  "  The  thought  of  it  is  nourish 
ment."  This  name  gives  strength  to  find  peace  and  con 
solation  even  in  the  midst  of  the  miseries  and  persecu 
tions  of  this  world.  The  holy  Apostles  rejoiced  when 
they  were  ill  treated  and  reviled,  being  comforted  by 
the  name  of  Jesus:  They  went  from  the  presence  of  the 
council  rejoicing  that  they  were  counted  worthy  to  suffer  for 
the  name  of  Jesus.*  It  is  light,  it  is  food,  and  it  is  also 

1  "Oleum  effusum  nomen  tuum." — Cant.  i.  2. 

*  "  Lucet  praedicatum." 

3  "  Unde  putas  in  toto  orbe  tanta  et  tarn  subita  fidei  lux,  nisi  de 
praedicato  nomine  Jesu  ?" 

"  Ibant  gaudentes  a  conspectu  Concilii,  quoniam  digni  habiti  sunt 
pro  nomine  Jesu  contumeliam  pati." — Acts,  v.  41. 


154         Discourse  on  the  Name  of  Jesus. 

medicine  to  those  who  invoke  it:  "  When  pronounced, 
it  soothes  and  anoints."1  The  holy  Abbot  says:  "At 
the  rising  of  the  light  of  this  name,  the  clouds  disperse, 
the  calm  returns."  !  If  the  soul  of  any  one  is  afflicted  and 
in  trouble,  let  him  pronounce  the  name  of  Jesus,  and  im 
mediately  the  tempest  will  cease  and  peace  will  return. 
Does  any  one  fall  into  sin  ?  Does  he  run  in  despair  into 
the  snares  of  death  ?  Let  him  invoke  the  name  of  Life,  and 
will  he  not  at  once  return  to  life  ? 3  If  any  one  has  been 
so  wretched  as  to  fall  into  sin,  and  feels  diffident  of  par 
don,  let  him  invoke  this  name  of  Life,  and  he  shall  im 
mediately  be  encouraged  to  hope  for  pardon,  by  calling 
on  Jesus,  who  for  this  end  was  destined  by  the  Father  to 
be  our  Saviour, — namely,  to  obtain  pardon  for  sinners. 
Euthymius  says  that  if  when  Judas  was  tempted  to  de 
spair,  he  had  invoked  the  name  of  Jesus,  he  would  not 
have  given  way  to  the  temptation:  "  If  he  had  invoked 
that  name,  he  would  not  have  perished."  4  Therefore,  he 
adds,  no  sinner  can  perish  through  desperation,  however 
lost  he  may  be,  who  invokes  his  Holy  Name,  which  is 
one  of  hope  and  salvation:  "  Despair  is  far  off  where  this 
name  is  invoked."  5 

But  sinners  leave  off  invoking  this  saving  name,  be 
cause  they  do  not  wish  to  be  cured  of  their  infirmities. 
Jesus  Christ  is  ready  to  heal  all  our  wounds;  but  if  peo 
ple  cherish  their  wounds,  and  will  not  be  healed,  how  can 
Jesus  Christ  heal  them  ?  The  Venerable  Sister  Mary  of 
Jesus  Crucified,  a  Sicilian  nun,  once  saw  the  Saviour,  as 
it  seemed,  in  a  hospital,  going  round  with  medicines  in 

1  "  Invocatum  lenit  et  ungit." 

2  "  Ad  exortum  nominis  lumen,  niibiliim  diffugit,  redit  serenum." 

3  "  Labifur  quis  in  crimen;  currit  ad  laqueum  mortis  desperando; 
nonne,  si  invocet  nomen  vitae,  confestim  respirabit  ad  vitam  ?" — In 
Cant.  s.  15. 

4  "  Si  illud  nomen  invocasset,  non  periisset." 

5  "  Longe  est  desperatio,  ubi  cst  hujus  nominis  invocatio." 


Discourse  on  the  Name  of  Jesiis.          155 

his  hand,  to  cure  the  sick  people  who  were  there;  but 
these  miserable  people,  instead  of  thanking  him  and  beg 
ging  him  to  come  to  them,  drove  him  away.  In  like 
manner  do  many  sinners,  after  they  have  of  their  own 
free-will  poisoned  their  souls  with  sins,  refuse  the  gifts 
of  health,  that  is,  the  grace  offered  them  by  Jesus  Christ, 
and  thus  remain  lost  through  their  infirmities. 

But,  on  the  other  hand,  what  fear  can  that  sinner  have 
who  has  recourse  to  Jesus  Christ,  since  Jesus  offers  him 
self  to  obtain  our  pardon  from  his  Father,  he  having  paid 
the  penalty  due  from  us  by  his  death  ?  St.  Laurence 
Justinian  says:  "He  who  had  been  offended,  appointed 
himself  as  intercessor,  and  himself  paid  what  was  owing 
to  him."  '  Therefore,  adds  the  saint,  "if  thou  art  bound 
down  by  sickness,  if  sorrows  weary  thee,  if  thou  art 
trembling  with  fear,  invoke  the  name  of  Jesus."5  O 
poor  man,  whoever  thou  art,  if  thou  art  weighed  down 
by  infirmity  or  by  grief  and  fear,  call  on  Jesus,  and  he 
will  console  thee.  It  is  enough  that  we  pray  to  the 
Father  in  his  name,  and  all  we  ask  will  be  granted  to 
us.  This  is  the  promise  of  Jesus  himself,  which  he  re 
peated  many  times,  and  which  cannot  fail:  If  you  ask  the 
Father  anything  in  My  name,  He  will  give  it  you  :3  .  .  . 
that  whatsoever  you  shall  ask  of  the  Father  in  My  name,  He 
may  give  it  you? 

II. 

In  the  second  place,  we  said  tnat  the  name  of  Jesus 
defends  us.  Yes,  it  defends  us  against  all  the  deceits 

1  "  Qui  offensus  fuerat,  ipse  se  intercessorem  destinavit;  quod  illi 
debebatur,  exsolvit." — Serm.  in  Nat.  D. 

2  "  Si   configeris   aegritudine,    si  doloribus  fatigaris,    si  concuteris 
formidine,  Jesu  nomen  edicito." — Serm.  in  Circ.  D. 

3  "  Si  quid  petieritis  Patrem  in  nomine  meo,  dabit  vobis." — John^ 
xvi.  23. 

4  "Quodcumque   petieritis  Patrem  in  nomine  meo,  hoc  faciam." — 
John,  xiv.  fj. 


156         Discourse  on  the  Name  of  Jesus. 

and  assaults  of  our  enemies.  For  this  reason  the  Messias 
was  called  the  Mighty  God /  and  his  name  was  called  by 
the  wise  man  a  strong  tower:  The  name  of  the  Lord  is  a 
strong  tower;*  that  we  may  know  that  he  who  avails 
himself  of  this  powerful  name  will  not  fear  all  the  as 
saults  of  hell.  St.  Paul  writes  thus:  Christ  humbled  Him 
self  ,  becoming  obedient  unto  death,  wen  to  the  death  of  the 
cross?  Jesus  Christ  during  his  life  humbled  himself  in 
obeying  his  Father,  even  to  die  on  the  cross;  which  is 
as  much  as  to  say,  as  St.  Anselm  remarks,  he  humbled 
himself  so  much  that  he  could  humble  himself  no  more; 4 
and  therefore  his  divine  Father,  as  a  reward  for  this  hu 
mility  and  obedience  of  his  Son,  raised  him  to  such  a 
sublime  dignity  that  he  could  have  no  higher:  For 
which  cause  God  hath  given  Him  a  name  which  is  above  all 
names ;  that  every  knee  should  bow,  of  those  that  are  in 
hearen,  on  earth,  and  under  the  earth*  He  has  given  him 
a  name  which  is  so  great  and  powerful  that  it  is  vener 
ated  in  heaven,  on  earth,  and  in  hell.  A  name  powerful 
in  heaven,  because  it  can  obtain  all  graces  for  us;  power 
ful  on  earth,  because  it  can  save  all  who  invoke  it  with 
devotion;  powerful  in  hell,  because  this  name  makes  all 
the  devils  tremble.  These  rebel  angles  tremble  at  the 
sound  of  that  most  sacred  name,  because  they  remember 
that  Jesus  Christ  was  the  Mighty  One  who  destroyed 
the  dominion  and  power  they  had  before  over  man, 
They  tremble,  says  St.  Peter  Chrysologus,  because  at 
that  name  they  have  to  adore  the  whole  majesty  of  God: 

1  "  Fortis." — Isa.  ix.  6. 

"Turris  fortissima,  nomen  Domini." — Prov.  xviii.  10. 
3  "  Humiliavit   semetipsum,    factus   obediens   usque    ad  mortem, 
mortem  autem  crucis;  propter  quod  et  Deus  exaltavit  ilium."— Phil 
ii.  8. 

"Ipse  se  tantum  humiliavit,  ut  ultra  non  posset;  propter  quod 
Deus  tantum  exaltavit,  ut  ultra  non  posset." 

"  Etdonavit  illi  nomen  quodest  super  omne  nomen,  ut  in  nomine 
Jesu  omne  genu  flectatur  coelestium,  terrestrium,  et  infernorum." 


Discoiirse  on  the  Name  of  Jesus.          157 

4  In  this  name  the  whole  majesty  of  God  is  adored."1 
Our  Saviour  himself  said,  that  through  this  powerful 
name  his  disciples  should  cast  out  devils:  In  My  name 
they  shall  cast  out  devils?  And,  in  fact,  the  Church  in  her 
exorcisms  always  makes  use  of  this  name  in  driving  out 
the  infernal  spirits  from  those  who  are  possessed.  And 
priests  who  are  assisting  dying  persons  call  to  their  aid 
the  name  of  Jesus,  to  deliver  them  from  the  assaults  of 
hell,  which  at  that  last  moment  are  so  terrible. 

If  we  read  the  life  of  St.  Bernardine  of  Sienna,  we 
shall  see  how  many  sinners  the  saint  .converted,  how 
many  abuses  he  put  an  end  to,  and  how  many  cities  he 
sanctified,  by  trying  when  he  preached  to  -induce  the 
people  to  invoke  the  name  of  Jesus.  St.  Peter  says 
that  there  is  no  other  name  given  to  us  by  which  we  can 
find  salvation  but  this  ever-blessed  name  of  Jesus  :  For 
there  is  no  other  name  under  heaven  given  to  men  whereby  we 
must  be  saved?  Jesus  is  he  who  has  not  only  saved  us 
once  for  all,  but  he  continually  preserves  us  from  the 
danger  of  sin,  by  his  merits,  each  time  we  invoke  him 
with  confidence  :  Whatsoever  you  shall  ask  the  Father  in 
My  name,  that  will  /  do* 

In  temptations,  then,  I  repeat  with  St.  Laurence  Jus 
tinian,  "  whether  you  are  tempted  by  the  deviJ,  or  are 
attacked  by  men,  invoke  the  name  of  Jesus."'  If  the 
devils  and  men  torment  you  and  urge  you  to  sin,  call  on 
Jesus,  and  you  will  be  delivered  ;  and  if  temptations  do 
not  cease  to  persecute  you,  continue  to  invoke  Jesus, 

1  "  In  hoc  nomine,  Deitatis  tota  adoratur  majestas."—  Serm.  144. 

2  "In  nomine  meo  dsemonia  ejicient." — Mark,  xvi.  17. 

3  "  Nee  enim  aliud   nomen   est  sub   coelo  datum  hominibus,  in  quo 
oporteat  nos  salvos  fieri." — Acts.  iv.  12. 

4  "Quodcumque  petieritis  Pattern  in  nomine  meo,  hoc  faciam.  — 
John,  xiv.  13. 

5  "  Si  tentaris  a  diabolo,  si  ab  hominibus  opprimeris,  Jesu  nomen 
edicito." — Serm.  in  Circ.  D. 


158         Discourse  on  the  Name  of  Jesus. 

and  you  will  never  fall.  Those  who  practise  this  devo 
tion  have  experienced  that  they  keep  themselves  safe, 
and  that  they  always  come  off  victorious. 

Let  us  always  add  also  the  name  of  Mary,  which  is 
likewise  terrible  to  hell,  and  we  shall  always' be  secure. 
;<  This  short  prayer— Jesus  and  Mary— is  easy  to  remem 
ber,"  says  Thomas  4  Kempis,  "  and  powerful  to  protect  ; 
is  strong  enough  to  deliver  us  from  all  the  assaults  of  our 
enemies."1 


in. 


In  the  third  place,  the  name  of  Jesus  not  only  consoles 
us  and  preserves  us  from  all  evil,  but  it  also  inflames 
with  holy  love  all  those  who  pronounce  it  with  devotion. 
The  name  of  Jesus,  that  is,  of  Saviour,  is  a  name  which 
expresses  in  itself  love,  for  it  recalls  to  us  how  much 
Jesus  Christ  has  done  and  suffered  to  save  us.  "The 
name  of  Jesus,"  says  St.  Bernard,  "places  before  thee  all 
that  ^God  has  done  for  the  salvation  of  the  human 
race."  :  So  that  a  pious  author  said,  with  all  the  affec 
tion  of  his  heart  "O  my  Jesus,  how  much  did  it  cost 
Thee  to  be  Jesus,  that  is,  my  Saviour  !"  3 

St.  Matthew  writes,  when  speaking  of  the  crucifixion  of 
Jesus  Christ,  And  they  put  over  His  head  His  cause  written  : 
This  is  Jesus  the  King  of  the  Jews.*  The  eternal  Father 
then  so  ordained  that  on  the  Cross  on  which  our  Re 
deemer  died  should  be  written,  This  is  Jesus,  the 
Saviour  of  the  world.  Pilate  wrote  this,  not  that  he  had 
judged  him  guilty  because  Jesus  Christ  took  to  himself 
the  title  of  King  ;  for  Pilate  made  no  account  of  this 

"  Haec  sancta  oratio,  Jesu  .et  Maria,  brevis  ad  legendum,  facilis 
ad  tenendum,  fortis  ad  protegendum."—  Vail.  HI.  c.  13. 

"Omnia  quaecumque  Deus  pro  salute  hominum  ordinavit,  in 
Jesu  nomine  comprehenduntur." — T.  ii.  s.  49. 

^'O  Jesu  !  quanti  tibi  constitit  esse  Jesum,  Salvatorem  meum  !" 

"Et  imposuerunt  super  caput  ejus  causam  ipsius  scriptam  •  '  Hie 
est  Jesus,  Rex  Judceorum.'  "• 


Discourse  on  the  Name  of  Jesus.          159 

accusation  :  and  at  the  same  time  that  he  condemned 
him  he  declared  him  innocent,  and  protested  that  he  had 
no  part  in  his  death:  /  am  innocent  of  the  blood  of  this 
just  man.1  Why,  then,  did  he  give  him  the  title  of  king? 
He  wrote  it  by  the  will  of  God,  who  thereby  wished  to 
say  to  us  men,  Do  you  know  why  my  innocent  Son  is 
dying  ?  He  is  dying  because  he  is  your  Saviour  ;  this 
divine  pastor  dies  on  this  infamous  tree  in  order  to  save 
you,  his  sheep.  Therefore  it  was  said  in  the  sacred 
Canticles,  His  name  is  as  oil  poured  out?'  St.  Bernard 
explains  this,  saying,  "  that  is,  the  effusion  of  the  divin 
ity."  3  In  the  redemption  God  himself,  out  of  the  love 
which  he  bore  us,  gave  himself  and  communicated 
himself  entirely  to  us  :  He  hath  loved  us,  and  hath  de 
livered  Himself  for  us*  And,  that  he  might  be  able  to 
communicate  himself  to  us,  he  took  upon  himself  the 
burden  of  suffering  the  pains  due  by  us.  He  hath  borne 
our  infirmities,  and  carried  our  sorrows?  By  this  title, 
says  St.  Cyril  of  Alexandria,  he  desired  to  cancel  the 
original  decree  of  condemnation  which  had  already  been 
passed  against  us  poor  sinners  :  "  By  this  title  affixed  to 
his  cross  he  blotted  out  the  decree  issued  against  the 
human  race."  6  According  to  the  word  of  the  apo.stle, 
Blotting  out  the  handwriting  of  the  decree  that  was  against 
us.1  Our  loving  Redeemer  wished  to  deliver  us  from 
the  malediction  we  had  deserved,  by  making  himself  the 
object  of  the  divine  curse  in  taking  all  our  sins  upon 

1  "  Innocens  ego  sum  a  sanguine  justi  hujus." — Matt,  xxvii.  24. 

2  "Oleum  effusum  nomen  tuum." 
8  "  Nempe  erfusio  divinitatis." 

4  "  Dilexit  nos,  et  tradidit  semetipsum  pro  nobis." — Eph.  v.  2. 

5  "  Languores  nostros  ipse  tulit,  et  dolores  nostros  ipse  portavit." — 
Isa.  liii.  4. 

6  "  Hoc  adversus  genus  nostrum  chirographum  titulo  in  cruce  con- 
fixo  delevit." — In  Jo.  1.  12.  c.  29. 

7  "  Delens  quod  adversus  nos  erat  chirographum  decret?."—  Col.  ii. 
14- 


1 60         Discourse  on  the  Name  of  Jesus. 

him  :   Christ  hath  redeemed  us  from  the  curse  of  the  law, 
being  made  a  curse  for  us,1 

Therefore  it  is  not  possible  for  a  soul  that  is  faithful 
to  pronounce  the  name  of  Jesus,  and  to  remember  all 
that  he  has  done  to  save  us,  and  not  to  be  inflamed  with 
love  towards  one  who  has  loved  us  so  much.  "  When  I 
utter  the  name  of  Jesus,"  says  St.  Bernard,  "  I  see  before 
me  a  man  of  meekness,  humility,  kindness,  and  mercy, 
who  at  the  same  time  is  the  Almighty  God,  who  heals 
and  strengthens  me.""  When  we  say  Jesus,  we  should 
imagine  to  ourselves  that  we  see  a  man,  meek,  benignant, 
kind,  and  full  of  all  virtues  ;  and  then  we  must  think 
that  he  is  our  God,  who,  to  cure  our  wounds,  chose  to  be 
despised,  wounded,  and  even  to  die  of  pure  grief  on  a 
cross.  St  Anselm,  therefore,  exhorts  all  who  call  them 
selves  Christians  to  cherish  the  beautiful  name  of  Jesus, 
to  have  it  always  in  their  hearts,  that  it  may  be  their 
only  food,  their  only  consolation.  "Let  Jesus  be  ever 
in  thy  heart.  Let  him  be  thy  food,  thy  delight,  thy  con 
solation."  ;  Ah,  says  St.  Bernard,  it  is  he  alone  who 
experiences  it,  that  can  know  what  sweetness,  what  a 
paradise  even  in  this  valley  of  tears,  it  is  truly  to  love 
Jesus.4 

"  The  love  of  Jesus,  what  it  is, 
None  but  his  lov'd  ones  know." 

Well  did  St.  Rose  of  Lima  know  this  happiness,  from 
whose  mouth  came  out  such  a  burning  flame  of  love, 

1  "  Christus  nos  redemit  de  maledicto  legis,  factus  pro  nobis  n^ 
ledictum." — Gal.  iii.  13. 

2  "  Cum  nomino  Jesum,  hominem  mihi  propono  mitem,  humilem, 
benignum,  misericordem,   omni  sanctitate  conspicuum  eumdemque 
Deum  omnipotentem,  qui  me  sanet  et  roboret." — In  Cant.  s.  15. 

3  "Sit  tibi  Jesus  semper  in  corde  ;  hie  sit  cibus,  dulcedo  et  conso* 
latio  tua  !" 

4  "  Expertus  potest  credere  quid  sit  Jesum  diligere." — jfub.  de  nom. 
Jest*. 


Discourse  on  the  Name  of  Jesus.          161 

after  she  had  received  Holy  Communion,  that  it  burned 
the  hands  of  those  that  gave  her  water  (as  was  the  cus 
tom)  to  drink  after  Communion.  As  also  did  St.  Mary 
Magdalene  of  Pazzi,  who,  with  a  crucifix  in  her  hand, 
cried  out,  burning  with  love,  "O  God  of  love!  O  God  of 
love  !  even  mad  with  love."  And  St.  Philip  Ned,  whose 
ribs  were  forced  out  to  give  room  for  his  heart,  which 
was  burning  with  divine  love,  to  beat  more  freely.  St- 
Stanislaus  Kostka,  who  was  obliged  to  have  his  breast 
bathed  with  cold  water  to  mitigate  the  great  ardor  with 
which  he  was  burning  for  the  love  of  Jesus.  St.  Francis 
Xavier,  who  for  the  same  cause  unclosed  his  bosom,  say 
ing,  "  Lord,  it  is  enough  ;  no  more,"  in  this  way  declar 
ing  himself  unable  to  bear  the  great  flame  that  was 
burning  in  his  heart. 

Let  us  also  try  as  much  as  we  can  to  keep  Jesus  in  our 
hearts  by  loving  him,  and  to  keep  him  on  our  lips  by 
often  calling  on  him.  St.  Paul  says  that  the  name  of 
Jesus  cannot  be  pronounced  (that  is,  with  devotion)  ex 
cept  by  the  operation  of  the  Holy  Spirit :  And  no  man 
can  say  the  Lord  Jesus  but  by  the  Holy  Ghost.1  So  that  the 
Holy  Spirit  communicates  himself  to  all  those  who  de 
voutly  pronounce  the  name  of  Jesus. 

The  name  of  Jesus  is  strange  to  some,  and  why  is  it  ? 
Because  they  love  not  Jesus.  The  saints  have  always  on 
their  lips  this  name  of  salvation  and  love.  There  is  not 
a  page  in  all  the  epistles  of  St.  Paul  in  which  he  does  not 
name  Jesus  many  times.  St.  John  also  names  him  often. 
The  blessed  Henry  Suso,  the  more  to  increase  his  love  for 
this  holy  name,  one  day,  with  a  sharp  iron,  engraved  the 
name  of  Jesus  on  his  bosom  over  his  heart  ;  and  being 
all  bathed  in  his  blood,  he  said,  Lord,  I  desire  to  write 
Thy  name  on  my  heart  itself,  but  I  cannot ;  Thou  who 
canst  do  everything,  imprint,  I  pray  Thee,  Thy  sweet 

1  "Nemo  potest  dicere :  Doaiinus  Jesus — nisi  in  Spiritu  Sanqto." 
~-l  Cor.  xii.  3. 


1 62         Discourse  on  the  Name  of  Jesus. 

name  on  my  heart,  so  that  neither  Thy  name  nor  Thy 
love  may  ever  be  effaced  from  it.  St.  Jane  of  Chantal 
imprinted  the  name  of  Jesus  on  her  heart  with  a  hot  iron. 

Jesus  Christ  does  not  expect  so  much  from  us  ;  he  is 
satisfied  if  we  keep  him  in  our  hearts  by  love,  and  if  we 
often  invoke  him  with  affection.  And  as  whatever  he 
did  and  said  during  his  life,  he  did  it  all  for  us,  so  it  is 
but  just  that  whatever  we  do,  we  should  do  it  in  the 
name  of  Jesus  Christ,  and  for  his  love,  as  St.  Paul  exhorts 
us  :  All  whatsoever  you  do,  in  word  or  in  work,  all  things 
do  ye  in  the  name  of  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ?  And  if  Jesus 
has  died  for  us,  we  ought  to  be  ready  willingly  to  give 
our  lives  for  the  name  of  Jesus  Christ,  as  the  same 
apostle  declared  he  was  ready  to  do  :  For  I  am  ready,  not 
only  to  be  bound,  but  to  die  also  in  Jerusalem,  for  the  name  of 
the  Lord  Jesus? 

Let  us  now  come  to  the  conclusion.  If  we  are  in 
affliction,  let  us  invoke  Jesus,  and  he  will  console  us.  If 
we  are  tempted,  let  us  invoke  Jesus,  and  he  will  give  us 
strength  to  withstand  all  our  enemies.  If,  lastly,  we  are 
in  aridity,  and  are  cold  in  divine  love,  let  us  invoke  Jesus, 
and  he  will  inflame  our  hearts.  Happy  are  they  who 
have  this  most  tender  and  holy  name  always  on  their 
lips  !  A  name  of  peace,  a  name  of  hope,  a  name  of  sal 
vation,  and  a  name  of  love.  And  oh!  happy  shall  we  be 
if  we  are  fortunate  enough  to  die  pronouncing  the  name 
of  Jesus  !  But  if  we  desire  to  breathe  out  our  last  sigh 
with  this  sweet  name  on  our  tongue,  we  must  accustom 
ourselves  to  repeat  it  often  during  our  life. 

Let  us  also  always  add  the  beautiful  name  of  Mary, 
which  is  also  a  name  given  from  heaven,  and  is  a  power 
ful  name  which  makes  hell  tremble  ;  and  is  besides  a 

1  "  Omne  quodcumque  facitis  in  verbo  aut  in  opere,  omnia  in 
nomine  Domini  Jesu  Christi." — Col.  iii.  17. 

"2  "  Ego  enim,  non  solum  alligari,  sed  et  mori  .  .  .  paratus  sum, 
propter  nomen  Domini  Jesu." — Acts,  xxi.  13. 


Discourse  on  the  Name  of  Jesus.          163 

sweet  name,  in  that  it  reminds  us  of  that  Queen  who, 
being  the  Mother  of  God,  is  also  our  Mother,  the  Mother 
of  mercy,  the  Mother  of  love. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

Since,  then,  O  my  Jesus  '  Thou  art  the  Saviour  who  hast  given 
Thy  blood  and  Thy  life  for  me,  I  pray  Thee  to  write  Thy  ador 
able  name  on  my  poor  heart ;  so  that  having  it  always  imprinted 
in  my  heart  by  love,  I  may  also  have  it  ever  on  my  lips,  by  in 
voking  it  in  all  my  necessities.  If  the  devil  tempts  me,  Thy 
name  will  give  me  strength  to  resist  him  ;  if  I  lose  confidence, 
Thy  name  will  animate  me  to  hope ;  if  I  am  in  affliction,  Thy 
name  will  comfort  me,  by  reminding  me  of  all  Thou  hast  en 
dured  for  me.  If  I  find  myself  cold  in  Thy  love,  Thy  name 
will  inflame  me  by  reminding  me  of  the  love  Thou  hast  shown 
me.  Hitherto  I  have  fallen  into  so  many  sins,  because  I  did  not 
call  on  Thee ;  from  henceforth  Thy  name  shall  be  my  defence, 
my  refuge,  my  hope,  my  only  consolation,  my  only  love.  Thus 
do  I  hope  to  live,  and  so  do  I  hope  to  die,  having  Thy  name 
always  on  my  lips. 

Most  holy  Virgin,  obtain  for  me  the  grace  of  invoking  the 
name  of  thy  Son  Jesus  in  all  my  necessities,  together  with  thine 
own,  my  Mother  Mary  ;  but  let  me  invoke  them  always  with 
confidence  and  love,  so  that  I  may  be  able  also  to  say  to  theeas 
did  the  devout  Alphonsus  Rodriguez  :  "  Jesus  and  Mary,  may  I 
suffer  for  you  ;  may  I  die  for  you  ;  may  I  be  wholly  yours,  and 
in  nothing  my  own  !"  j  O  my  beloved  Jesus  !  O  Mary,  my  be 
loved  Lady  !  give  me  the  grace  to  suffer  and  to  die  for  your  love. 
I  will  be  no  longer  mine  own,  but  altogether  yours ;  yours  in 
life,  and  yours  in  death,  when  I  hope  by  your  help  to  expire 
saying,  Jesus  and  Mary,  help  me  !  Jesus  and  Mary,  I  recom 
mend  myself  to  you  ;  Jesus  and  Mary,  I  love  you,  and  I  give 
and  deliver  up  to  you  my  whole  soul. 

1  "  Jesu  et  Maria  !  pro  vobis  patiar,  pro  vobis  moriar  ;  sim  totus 
vaster,  sim  nihil  metis." 


1 64  Examples  of  the  Infant  Jesus. 


€*attt;pks  of  \\\t  Infant 

EXAMPLE   I. 

IT  is  related  in  the  Flowery  Meadow  that  a  devout 
lady  wished  to  know  what  souls  were  the  dearest  to 
Jesus.  One  day,  whilst  she  was  hearing  Mass,  at  the  ele 
vation  of  the  Sacred  Host,  she  saw  the  Infant  Jesus  on 
the  altar,  and  with  him  three  young  virgins.  Jesus  took 
the  first,  and  caressed  her  very  mucfh.  He  went  to  the 
second,  and,  having  taken  her  veil  off  her  face,  he  struck 
her  severely  on  the  cheek,  and  turned  his  back  upon  her  ; 
but  soon  after,  seeing  the  child  looking  sorrowful,  he 
comforted  her  with  all  sorts  of  kindness.  At  last  he  ap 
proached  the  third  ;  he  seized  her  by  the  arm  as  if  he 
were  angry,  struck  her,  and  drove  her  away  from  him  ; 
bftt  the  more  she  saw  herself  ill-used  and  driven  off,  the 
more  the  little  virgin  humbled  herself  and  followed  him  : 
and  thus  the  vision  ended.  This  devout  woman,  re 
maining  in  the  church  with  great  desire  to  know  what 
was  the  meaning  of  the  vision,  Jesus  appeared  to  her 
again,  and  told  her  that  there  are  on  the  earth  three  sorts 
of  souls  that  love  him.  Some  love  him  ;  but  their  love 
is  so  weak  that  if  they  are  not  coaxed  by  spiritual  pleas 
ures  they  become  uneasy,  and  are  in  danger  of  turning 
their  backs  upon  him  ;  and  of  these  the  first  virgin  was 
a  figure.  The  second  represented  those  souls  who  love 
him  with  a  less  feeble  love,  but  who  require  to  be  com 
forted  from  time  to  time.  The  third  was  a  figure  of 
those  more  courageous  souls  who,  although  constantly 
desolate,  and  deprived  of  spiritual  consolations,  do  not 
cease  doing  all  they  can  to  please  their  Lord  ;  and  these, 


Examples  of  the  Infant  Jesus.  165 

he  said,  were  the  souls  in  which  he  took  the  greatest  de 
light. 

EXAMPLE  II. 

Father  Cagnolio  relates,  from  Father  Patrignani,  that 
after  having  committed  a  great  many  sins,  a  certain  nun 
arrived  at  such  an  excess  of  crime  that  having  one  day 
communicated,  she  drew  from  her  mouth  the  sacred  par 
ticle,  placed  it  in  a  handkerchief,  and  afterwards,  having 
shut  herself  up  in  a  cell,  she  threw  the  Blessed  Sacra 
ment  on  the  ground,  and  began  to  trample  it  under  her 
feet.  But  lo  !  she  casts  her  eyes  down,  and  what  does 
she  see  ?  She  sees  the  Sacred  Host  changed  into  the 
form  of  a  beautiful  Infant,  but  ail  bruised  and  covered 
with  blood,  who  said  to  her,  "And  what  have  I  done  to 
thee,  that  thou  treatest  me  so  ill?"  Upon  which  the 
wretched  creature,  full  of  contrition  and  repentance, 
threw  herself  on  her  knees  in  tears,  and  said  to  him, 
"O  my  God,  dost  Thou  ask  me  what  Thou  hast  done  to 
me  ?  Thou  hast  loved  me  too  much."  The  vision  dis 
appeared,  and  the  nun  changed  her  whole  life,  and  be 
came  a  model  of  penance. 

EXAMPLE  III. 

It  is  related  in  the  chronicles  of  the  Cistercians  that 
a  certain  monk  of  Brabant,  who  was  travelling  on 
Christmas-night,  as  he  passed  through  a  forest,  heard  a 
cry  as  it  were  of  a  new-born  infant.  He  approached  the 
place  whence  he  heard  the  cries,  and  saw  a  beautiful 
infant  in  the  middle  of  the  snow,  who  was  crying  and 
trembling  with  the  cold.  Moved  to  compassion,  the 
monk  immediately  dismounted  from  his  horse,  and,  ap 
proaching  the  infant,  said  :  "  O  my  child,  how  is  it  that 
thou  art  thus  abandoned  to  weep  and  die  in  the  midst  of 
this  snow? "  And  he  heard  a  voice  answer  him  :  "  Alas  ! 
how  can  I  help  crying  whilst  I  see  myself  thus  aban- 


1 66  Examples  of  the  Infant  Jesus. 

doned  by  all,  and  that  no  one  receives  me  or  has  com 
passion  upon  me?"  And  having  said  this,  he  disap 
peared,  giving  us  to  understand  that  he  was  our  Re 
deemer,  who  by  this  vision  meant  to  reprove  the  in- 
gratittide  of  men,  who,  having  seen  him  born  for  their 
sake  in  a  stable,  leave  him  to  cry  there  without  even 
pitying  him. 

EXAMPLE   IV. 

It  is  related  by  Bollandus  that  the  most  holy  Mary 
appeared  one  day  to  the  Blessed  Coletta,  whilst  she  was 
praying  to  her  to  intercede  for  sinners,  and  that  she 
showed  her  her  Infant  Son  all  torn  and  cut  to  pieces, 
"My  daughter,"  she  said,  "have  compassion  me  and  on 
my  Son;  behold  how  sinners  treat  him." 

EXAMPLE  V. 

Pelbart  relates  that  a  certain  soldier  was  full  of  vices; 
but  he  had  a  devout  wife,  who,  not  being  able  to  reform 
him,  recommended  him  at  least  not  to  omit  saying  every 
day  a  Hail  Mary  before  some  image  of  our  Lady.  One 
day,  as  he  was  going  to  commit  sin,  he  passed  by  a 
church,  which,  by  chance,  he  entered;  and  seeing  an 
image  of  our  Blessed  Lady,  he  knelt  down  and  said  a 
Hail  Mary;  and  what  did  he  then  see?  he  saw  the  In 
fant  Jesus  in  the  arms  of  Mary  all  covered  with  bleeding 
wounds.  Upon  which  he  said,  "  O  God,  what  barbarian 
has  thus  ill-treated  this  innocent  babe  ?"  "  It  is  you, 
sinner,"  answered  Mary:  "it  is  you  who  thus  ill-use  my 
Son."  Then,  full  of  contrition,  he  begged  her  to  obtain 
for  him  pardon,  calling  her  Mother  of  Mercy.  She  re 
plied,  "You  sinners  call  me  Mother  of  Mercy,  but  you 
do  not  cease  to  make  me  a  mother  of  sorrows  and  of 
misery."  But  the  penitent  did  not  lose  courage,  and 
continued  to  pray  to  Mary  to  intercede  for  him.  The 
Blessed  Virgin  turned  to  her  Son,  and  asked  him  to 


Examples  of  the  Infant  Jesus.  1 6  7 

pardon  this  sinner.  Her  Son  seemed  reluctant  to  do  so; 
but  then  Mary  said  to  him,  "O  my  Son,  I  will  not  leave 
Thy  feet  if  Thou  dost  not  forgive  this  afflicted  man, 
who  has  recommended  himself  to  me."  Then  Jesus  said 
to  her  :  "O  my  Mother,  I  never  have  refused  you  any 
thing;  do  you  desire  the  pardon  of  this  sinner?  let  him 
be  pardoned  ;  and  in  token  of  the  pardon  which  I  grant 
him,  I  desire  that  he  should  come  and  kiss  my  wounds." 
The  sinner  went  up  to  the  image,  drew  near,  and  whilst 
he  was  kissing  them,  the  wounds  were  closed.  Immedi 
ately  on  leaving  the  church,  he  asks  pardon  of  his  wife, 
and  with  mutual  consent  they  both  left  the  world,  and 
became  religious  in  two  monasteries  at  the  same  time, 
and  ended  their  lives  by  a  holy  death. 

EXAMPLE  VI. 

It  is  mentioned  in  the  life  of  Brother  Benedict  Lopez 
that  while  he  remained  in  the  army  he  led  a  life  stained 
with  sins.  One  day  he  entered  a  church  in  Travancor, 
and  saw  an  image  of  Mary  with  the  Infant  Jesus.  Our 
Lord  placed  before  his  eyes  his  abandoned  life.  At  the 
sight  of  his  sins  he  almost  despaired  of  pardon;  but 
turning  to  Mary,  with  tears  in  his  eyes,  lie  commended 
himself  to  her;  and  he  then  perceived  that  the  Holy 
Infant  also  was  weeping,  and  that  his  tears  were  falling 
on  the  altar;  so  much  so  that  it  was  observed  by  others, 
who  hastened  to  collect  them  in  a  cloth.  Soon  after  this, 
Benedict,  full  of  contrition,  forsook  the  world,  and  be 
came  a  lay-brother  in  the  Society  of  Jesus,  in  which  he 
lived  and  died  with  the  greatest  devotion  to  the  Sacred 
Infancy  of  Jesus  Christ. 

EXAMPLE  VII. 

Father  Patrignani  relates  that  there  was  in  Messina  a 
youth  of  noble  birth  called  Dominic  Ansalone,  who  was 
in  the  habit  of  going  often  to  a  certain  church  to  visit  an 


1 68  Examples  of  the  Infant  Jesus. 

image  of  Mary  holding  in  her  arms  the  Infant  Jesus,  of 
which  he  became  quite  enamoured.  Now,  it  happened 
that  when  Dominic  lay  at  the  point  of  death  he  implored 
his  parents  with  great  earnestness  to  bring  the  image  of 
the  beloved  Child  into  his  room.  His  wishes  were  satis 
fied;  full  of  delight,  he  placed  it  on  his  bed,  and  looking 
at  it  in  the  most  loving  manner,  and  now  and  then  turn 
ing  to  the  Infant,  he  said,  "  My  Jesus,  have  pit.y  on  me  !" 
then  turning  to  the  bystanders,  "Behold,"  he  said,  "  be 
hold  how  beautiful  is  my  little  Saviour!"  On  the  Jast 
night  of  his  life  he  called  his  parents,  and  in  their  pres 
ence  he  first  said  to  the  Holy  Infant,  "  My  Jesus,  I  leave 
Thee  my  heir!"  And  then  he  begged  his  father  and 
mother  to  employ  a  certain  small  sum  of  money  which 
he  had,  in  having  nine  Masses  celebrated  after  his  death* 
and  with  the  rest  to  make  a  handsome  robe  for  his  Infant 
heir.  Before  he  died,  he  raised  his  eyes  to  heaven  with 
a  look  of  joy,  and  said,  "  Oh,  how  beautiful  ! — how  beau 
tiful  is  my  Lord  !"  and  saying  this,  he  expired. 

EXAMPLE  VIII. 

It  is  related  in  the  Mirror  of  Examples  of  a  certain  de 
vout  English  boy,  named  Edmund,*  that  being  one  day 

*  This  happy  young-  man  is  no  other  than  St.  Edmund,  Arch 
bishop  of  Canterbury,  as  we  may  see  in  his  life  by  Surius,  November 
16. 

We  may  here  add  a  more  recent  example,  which  we  read  in  the  Life 
of  the  Venerable  Brother  Gerard  Majtlla,  of  the  Congregation  of  the 
Most  Holy  Redeemer,  by  Father  Tannoia.  Animated  with  fervent 
piety  already  in  his  infancy,  he  loved  to  visit  a  church  in  which  was  hon 
ored  the  mother  of  God  holding  the  Infant  Jesus  in  her  arms.  While 
Gerard  was  one  day  entering  the  church  the  divine  Infant  came  to 
meet  him  and  offered  him  a  piece  of  white  bread — a  symbol  of  the 
gift  that  he  was  soon  to  give  him  in  the  most  adorable  sacrament  of 
the  Eucharist.  Gerard,  attracted  by  the  sweet  charms  of  the  Infant 
Saviour,  went  often  to  the  same  church,  and  Jesus  very  frequently  be 
stowed  upon  him  the  same  favor. 

Later  on  he  entered  the  service  of  a  master  who  was  extremely 


Examples  of  the  Infant  Jesus.  1 69 

in   the  country  with   other  children,  as  he  was  fond   of 
prayer  and  solitude,  he   separated  himself  from   them, 
and  walked  alone  in  a  meadow,  entertaining  himself  in 
devout  aspirations   and  affections   towards  Jesus  Christ, 
Behold,  a  beautiful  Infant  appeared  to  him,  and  saluted 
him  with,  "  God   bless  you,  My  dear   Edmund!"      And 
then  he  asked  him  whether  he  knew  who  he  was  ?     Ed 
mund   answered    that   he    did   not.      "  What   dost   thou 
mean  by  not  knowing  me  ?"  replied  the  heavenly  Infant, 
"when  I  am  always  at  thy  side.     If,  then,  thou  desirest 
to  know   me,   look  at   my  forehead."     Edmund   looked 
and  read  on  his  forehead  these  words:   "Jesus  of  Naza 
reth,   the   King   of  the  Jews."     The  Child   then  added, 
"  This  is  my  name;  and  I  desire  that  in  remembrance  of 
the  love  I  bear  thee,  thou  shouldst  every  night  sign  thy 
forehead  with  this  name,  and  it  shall  deliver  thee  from 
sudden  death;  as  it  will  also  deliver  every  one  who  shall 
do  the  same."     Edmund  ever  after  signed   himself  with 
the  name  of  Jesus.     On  one  occasion  the  devil  seized  his 
hands,  in   order   to   prevent   him  from   doing   so;  but  he 
conquered  him  by  prayer,  and  then  constrained  him  to 
tell  him    what  was  the  weapon  which  he  most  feared; 
the  devil  replied  that  it  was  those  words  with  which  he 
signed  his  forehead. 

EXAMPLE   IX. 

Father  Nadasi    relates    that  the  devotion  of  sending 
about   the  image  of  the   Infant  Jesus  to  the  nuns,  each 

harsh  and  who  omitted  no  opportunity  to  try  Gerard's  "heroic  pa 
tience.  A  key  was  one  day  accidentally  dropped  into  a  well.  Fore 
seeing  the  trouble  and  the  irritation  that  this  accident  would  cause  his 
master,  and  the  sins  that  would  be  the  result,  Gerard,  full  of  confi 
dence,  took  a  small  statue  of  the  Infant  Jesus,  lowered  it  into  the 
well  by  means  of  a  cord,  and  said,  "  You  must  see  to  it  that  my  mas 
ter  does  not  become  impatient."  When  he  had  drawn  up  the  statue 
in  the  presence  of  a  large  number  of  people,  it  was  holding  the  key  in 
its  hands.— ED. 


1 70  Examples  of  the  Infant  Jesus. 

one  having  it  one  day,  having  been  introduced  into  a 
monastery,  one  of  these  virgins  whose  turn  it  was,  after 
having  spent  a  long  time  in  prayer,  at  the  close  of  even, 
ing  took  the  image  and  shut  it  up  in  a  little  closet.  But 
she  had  hardly  lain  down  to  sleep  when  she  heard  the 
Holy  Infant  knocking  at  the  door  of  the  closet;  she 
therefore  got  out  of  bed,  and,  having  replaced  the  image 
on  her  little  altar,  she  prayed  again  for  a  very  long  time. 
She  then  shut  it  up  again,  but  the  Infant  again  knocked; 
again  she  took  it  out  and  prayed.  At  last,  weary  with 
sleep,  she  went  and  rested  herself  on  the  bed,  and  slept 
till  daybreak;  and  on  awakening  she  blessed  this  night 
that  had  been  passed  in  holy  conversation  with  her  Be 
loved. 

EXAMPLE  X. 

It  is  related  in   the  Dominican  Diary  for  the  yth  Octo 
ber,  that  when  St  Dominic  was  preaching  at  Rome  there 
was  there  a  sinner  called   the  beautiful  Catharine.     She 
received  a  Rosary  from   the  hands  of  the  saint,  and  be 
gan   to    recite  it;   but   she  did  not   leave  off   her  wicked 
course  of  life.     One  day  Jesus  appeared  to  her;  first,   in 
tne  shape  of  a  young  man,  and  afterwards  the    figure 
changed  itself  into  that  of  a  beautiful  Infant,  but  with  a 
crown  of  thorns  upon  his  head  and  a  cross  on  his  shoul 
ders,  tears  flowing  from  his  eyes  and  blood  from  his  body. 
He  then  said  to  her,   It  is  enough;   no  more,  Catharine- 
it  is  enough,  do  not  offend  me  any  more:  see  how  much 
thou  hast  cost  me  since  I  began  as  an  Infant  to  suffer  for 
thee,  and  never  left  off  suffering  till  my  death.     Cath 
arine  thereupon  went  immediately  in  search  of  St.  Dom 
inic,  confessed  to  him,  and,  instructed  by  him,  after  hav 
ing   given   all  she    had    to    the    poor,   and   having   shut 
herself  up  in  a  narrow  cell,  led  a  life  of  such  fervor,  and 
received  such  graces  from   the  Lord,  that  the  saint  was 
struck  with  admiration.     And  at  last,  having  been  visited 
by  most  holy  Mary,  she  died  a  most  happy  death. 


Examples  of  the  Infant  Jesus.  \  7 1 


EXAMPLE   XI. 

The  Venerable  Sister  Jane  of  Jesus  and  Mary,  a  Fran 
ciscan,  whilst  she  was  one  day  meditating  on  the  Infant 
Jesus  being  persecuted  by  Herod,  heard  a  great  noise  as 
of  armed  men  pursuing  some  one,  and  then  saw  before 
her  a  beautiful  boy  looking  much  distressed,  who  seemed 
to  be  running  away,  and  who  said  to  her:  "  O  Jane,  help 
me  and  save  me;  I  am  Jesus  of  Nazareth;  I  am  flying 
from  sinners,  who  want  to  take  my  life  away,  and  perse 
cute  me  worse  than  Herod;  do  you  save  me." 

EXAMPLE  XII. 

It  is  related  in  the  life  of  Father  Zucchi  of  the  Society 
of  Jesus,  who  was  most  devout  to  the  Infant  Jesus,  and 
whose  image  he  used  in  order  to  gain  many  souls  to 
God,  that  one  day  he  gave  one  of  these  little  images  to 
a  lady,  who,  though  perfectly  innocent  and  good  in  her 
habits,  yet  was  very  far  from  having  the  idea  of  becom 
ing  a  nun.  The  young  lady  accepted  the  gift;  but 
smiling  she  said  to  him,  What  have  I  to  do  with  this 
Infant?  He  answered,  Nothing,  but  to  put  it  on  the 
spinet,  on  which  you  so  frequently  play.  She  did  so; 
and  having  constantly  this  image  before  her  eyes,  she 
could  not  avoid  often  looking  at  it,  and  from  looking  at 
it  she  began  to  feel  a  small  touch  of  devotion.  Then 
she  was  inflamed  with  a  desire  to  become  better;  so  that 
the  spinet  was  rather  an  occasion  to  her  of  prayer  than 
of  amusement.  At  last  she  resolved  to  leave  the  world 
and  become  a  religious.  Then,  full  of  joy,  she  went  and 
related  to  Father  Zucchi  that  the  Infant  had  drawn  her 
to  his  love;  and,  disengaging  her  affections  from  earthly 
things,  had  taken  entire  possession  of  them  himself. 
She  became  a  religious,  and  gave  herself  up  to  a  life  of 
perfection. 


172 


Meditation  L 


ittebitations  far  €t)etj}  UCJaj)  of 


MEDITATION  I. 

FIRST  SUNDAY. 
Goodness  of  God  in  the  Work  of  the  Redemption. 

Et  incarnatus  est  de  Spiritu  Sancto.  .  .  .  Et  homo  factus  est 
"And  was  incarnate  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  and  was  made  man."—  Symbol.  Const. 

Consider  that  God,  having  created  the  first  man,  in 
order  that  he  might  serve  him  and  love  him  in  this  life, 
and  be  conducted  afterwards  to  reign  with  him  forever 
in  Paradise,  enriched  him  for  this  end  with  knowledge 
and  grace.  But  ungrateful  man  rebelled  against  God, 
refusing  him  the  obedience  which  he  owed  him  in  justice 
and  gratitude;  and  thus,  miserable  sinner,  was  he  left 
with  all  his  posterity  as  a  rebel,  deprived  of  divine  grace, 
and  forever  excluded  from  paradise.  Behold,  then,  after 
this  ruin,  caused  by  sin,  all  men  lost  !  All  were  living 
in  blindness,  or  in  the  darkness  of  the  shadow  of  death. 
The  devil  had  dominion  over  them,  and  hell  destroyed 
innumerable  victims  amongst  them. 

But  God,  seeing  men  reduced  to  this  miserable  state, 
was  moved  with  pity,  and  resolved  to  save  them.  And 
how?  He  did  not  send  an  angel,  a  seraph;  but  to  show 
to  the  world  the  immense  love  that  he  bore  to  these  un 
grateful  worms,  He  sent  His  own  Son  in  the  likeness  of  sin 
ful  flesh?  He  sent  his  own  Son  to  become  man,  and  to 
clothe  himself  with  the  same  flesh  as  sinful  men,  in  order 

1  "  Deus  Filium  suum  mittens  in  similitudinem  carnis  peccati."  — 
Rom.  viii.  3. 


First  Sunday  of  Advent.  173 

that,  by  his  suffering  and  death,  he  might  satisfy  the 
divine  justice  for  their  crimes,  and  thus  deliver  them 
from  eternal  death;  and,  reconciling  them  with  his  divine 
Father,  might  obtain  for  them  divine  grace,  and  might 
render  them  worthy  to  enter  into  life  eternal. 

Consider,  on  the  one  hand,  the  immense  ruin  that  sin 
brings  upon  souls,  as  it  deprives  them  of  the  friendship 
of  God  and  of  Paradise,  and  condemns  them  to  an  eter 
nity  of  pain.  And,  on  the  other  hand,  consider  the  infi 
nite  love  which  God  showed  in  this  great  work  of  the 
incarnation  of  the  Word,  causing  his  only-begotten  Son 
to  sacrifice  his  divine  life  by  the  hands  of  executioners 
on  a  cross,  in  a  sea  of  sorrows  and  of  infamy,  to  obtain 
for  us  pardon  and  life  eternal.  Oh,  in  contemplating 
this  great  mystery  and  this  excess  of  divine  love,  how 
can  we  do  otherwise  than  exclaim:  O  infinite  goodness  ! 
O  infinite  mercy  !  O  infinite  love  !  for  a  God  to  become 
man,  and  to  die  for  me  ! 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

But  how  is  it  my  Jesus,  that  after  Thou  hast  repaired  this  ruin 
of  sin  by  Thy  own  death,  I  have  so  often  wilfully  renewed  it 
again  by  the  many  offences  I  have  committed  against  Thee? 
Thou  hast  saved  me  at  so  great  a  cost,  and  I  have  so  often 
chosen  to  damn  myself,  in  losing  Thee,  O  infinite  Good  !  But 
what  Thou  hast  said  gives  me  confidence  that  when  the  sinner 
who  has  turned  his  back  upon  Thee  is  converted  to  Thee,  Thou 
wilt  not  refuse  to  embrace  him  :  Turn  ye  to  Me,  and  I  will  turn 
to  you?  Thou  hast  also  said,  If  any  man  shall .  .  .  open  to  Me 
the  door,  I  will  come  in  to  him?  Behold,  Lord,  I  am  one  of 
these  rebels,  an  ungrateful  traitor,  who  have  often  turned  my 
back  upon  Thee,  and  driven  Thee  from  my  soul ;  but  now  I  re 
pent  with  all  my  heart  for  having  thus  ill-used  Thee  and  de 
spised  Thy  grace;  I  repent  of  it,  and  love  Thee  above  every - 

1  "  Convertimini  ad  me  .  .  .  ,  et  convertar  ad  vos." — Zach.  \.  3. 

2  "Si  quis  .  .  .   aperuerit  mihi  januam,  introibo  ad  ilium." — Apoc. 
iii.  20. 


174  Meditation  II. 

thing.  Behold,  the  door  of  my  heart  is  already  open  ;  enter 
Thou,  but  enter  never  to  leave  it  again.  I  know  well  that  Thou 
wilt  never  leave  me,  if  I  do  not  again  drive  Thee  away ;  but 
this  is  my  fear,  and  this  is  the  grace  which  I  ask  of  Thee,  and 
which  I  hope  always  to  ask;  let  me  die  rather  than  be  guilty  of 
this  fresh  and  still  greater  ingratitude.  My  dearest  Redeemer, 
I  do  not  deserve  to  love  Thee,  after  all  the  offences  that  I  have 
committed  against  Thee ;  but  for  Thy  own  merits'  sake  I  ask  of 
Thee  the  gift  of  Thy  holy  love,  and  therefore  I  beseech  Thee 
make  me  know  the  great  good  Thou  art,  the  love  Thou  hast 
borne  me,  and  how  much  Thou  hast  done  to  oblige  me  to  love 
Thee.  Ah,  my  God  and  Saviour,  let  me  no  longer  live  ungrate 
ful  to  Thy  great  goodness.  My  Jesus,  I  will  never  leave  Thee 
again  ;  I  have  already  offended  Thee  enough.  It  is  only  right 
that  I  should  employ  the  remaining  years  of  my  life  in  loving 
Thee  and  pleasing  Thee.  My  Jesus,  my  Jesus,  help  me  ;  help  a 
sinner  that  wishes  to  love  Thee.  O  Mary,  my  Mother,  thou  hast 
all  power  with  Jesus,  seeing  thou  art  his  Mother;  beg  of  him  to 
forgive  me  ;  beg  of  him  to  enchain  me  with  his  holy  love.  Thou 
art  my  hope ;  in  thee  do  I  confide. 


MEDITATION  II. 

FIRST  MONDAY. 
Grandeur  of  the  Mystery  of  Incarnation. 

Et  verbum  caro  factum  est. 
"  And  the  Word  was  made  flesh."— St.  John,  i.  14. 

Our  Lord  sent  St.  Augustine  to  write  upon  the  heart 
of  St.  Mary  Magdalene  of  Pazzi  the  words,  And  the 
Word  was  made  flesh.  Oh,  let  us  also  pray  the  Lord  to 
enlighten  our  minds,  and  to  make  us  understand  what 
an  excess  and  what  a  miracle  of  love  this  is,  that  the 
eternal  Word,  the  Son  of  God,  should  have  become  man 
for  the  love  of  us. 

The  holy  Church  is  struck  with  awe  at  the  contempla 
tion  of  this  great  mystery:  /  considered  Thy  works  and  was 


First  Monday  of  Advent.  i  75 

afraid?  If  God  had  created  a  thousand  other  worlds,  a 
thousand  times  greater  and  more  beautiful  than  the 
present,  it  is  certain  that  this  work  would  be  infinitely 
less  grand  than  the  incarnation  of  the  Word:  He  hath 
showed  might  in  His  arm.''  To  execute  the  great  work  of 
the  Incarnation,  it  required  all  the  omnipotence  and  in 
finite  wisdom  of  God,  in  order  to  unite  human  nature 
to  a  divine  person,  and  that  a  divine  person  should  so 
humble  himself  as  to  take  upon  him  human  nature.  Thus 
God  became  man,  and  man  became  God;  and  hence,  the 
divinity  of  the  Word  being  united  to  the  soul  and  body 
of  Jesus  Christ,  all  the  actions  of  this  Man-God  became 
divine:  his  prayers  were  divine,  his  sufferings  divine,  his 
infant  cries  divine,  his  tears  divine,  his  steps  divine,  his 
members  divine,  his  very  blood  divine,  which  became,  as 
it  were,  a  fountain  of  health  to  wash  out  all  our  sins,  and 
a  sacrifice  of  infinite  value  to  appease  the  justice  of  the 
Father,  who  was  justly  offended  with  men. 

And  who,  then,  are  these  men?  Miserable,  ungrateful, 
and  rebellious  creatures.  And  yet  for  these  God  becomes 
man;  subjects  himself  to  human  miseries;  suffers  and 
dies  to  save  these  unworthy  sinners:  He  humbled  Himself , 
becoming  obedient  unto  death,  even  to  the  death  of  the  cross.  * 
O  holy  faith  !  If  faith  did  not  assure  us  of  it,  who  would 
believe  that  a  God  of  infinite  majesty  should  abase  him 
self  so  far  as  to  become  a  worm  like  us,  in  order  to  save 
us  at  the  cost  of  so  much  suffering  and  disgrace,  and  of 
so  cruel  and  shameful  a  death  ? 

"  O  grace  !  O  power  of  love  !"4  cries  St.  Bernard.  O 
grace,  which  men  could  not  even  have  imagined,  if  God 
himself  had  not  thought  of  granting  it  to  us  !  O  divine 

1  "Consideravi  opera  tua  et  expavi." — In  Circ.  Dom.  resp.  6. 

2  "Fecit  potentiam  in  brachio  suo." 

3  "  Humiliavit  semetipsum,  factus  obediens  usque  ad  mortem,  mor 
tem  autem  crucis  !" — Phil.  ii.  8. 

4  "  O  gratiam,  O  amoris  vim  !" 


1 76  Meditation  II. 

love,  which  can  never  be  fathomed  !     O  mercy  !     O  in 
finite  charity,  worthy  only  of  an  infinite  bounty  ! 

Affections  and  Prayers, 

O  soul,  O  body,  O  blood  of  my  Jesus !  I  adore  you  and 
thank  you  ;  you  are  my  hope  ;  you  are  the  price  paid  to  save  me 
from  hell,  which  I  have  so  often  merited.  O  my  God  !  what  a 
miserable  and  hopeless  life  would  await  me  in  eternity,  if  Thou, 
my  Redeemer,  hadst  not  thought  of  saving  me  by  Thy  sufferings 
and  death  !  But  how  is  it  that  souls,  redeemed  by  Thee  with 
so  much  love,  knowing  all  this,  can  live  without  loving  Thee,  and 
can  despise  the  grace  which  Thou  hast  acquired  for  them  with 
so  much  suffering?  And  did  not  I  also  know  all  this?  How, 
then,  could  I  offend  Thee,  and  offend  Thee  so  often  ?  But,  I 
repeat  it,  Thy  blood  is  my  hope.  1  acknowledge,  my  Saviour, 
the  great  injuries  that  I  have  done  to  Thee.  Oh  that  I  had 
rather  died  a  thousand  times  !  Oh  that  I  had  always  loved 
Thee  !  But  I  thank  Thee  that  Thou  yet  givest  me  time  to  do 
so.  I  hope  in  the  time  that  remains  to  me  in  this  life,  and  for 
all  eternity,  to  sing  forever  Thy  praises  for  the  mercies  Thou 
hast  shown  me.  I  have  deserved,  on  account  of  my  sins,  to  be 
more  and  more  in  darkness  ;  but  Thou  hast  given  me  more  and 
more  light.  I  deserved  that  Thou  shouldst  abandon  me;  but 
Thou,  with  calls  still  more  loving,  didst  come  to  me  and  seek 
me.  I  deserved  that  my  soul  should  remain  more  hardened  ; 
but  Thou  hast  softened  and  touched  it  with  compunction,  so 
that  by  Thy  grace  I  now  feel  great  sorrow  for  the  offences 
that  I  have  committed  against  Thee;  I  feel  within  me  an 
ardent  desire  of  loving  Thee ;  I  feel  fully  resolved  to  lose 
everything  rather  than  Thy  friendship;  I  feel  a  love  towards 
Thee  that  makes  me  abhor  everything  that  displeases  Thee. 
And  this  sorrow,  this  desire,  this  resolution,  and  this  love,  who 
is  it  that  gives  them  to  me  ?  It  is  Thou,  O  Lord,  in  Thy  great 
mercy.  Therefore,  my  Jesus,  this  is  a  proof  that  Thou  hast  par 
doned  me  ;  it  is  a  proof  that  Thou  now  lovest  me,  and  that  Thou 
wiliest  rne  at  all  costs  to  be  saved  ;  Thou  wiliest  that  I  should 
be  saved,  and  I  will  save  myself  principally  to  give  Thee  pleas 
ure.  Thou  lovest  me,  and  I  also  love  Thee  ;  but  my  love  is  but 
little.  Oh,  give  me  more  love ;  Thou  deservest  more  love  from 


First  Tuesday  of  Advent.  177 

me,  for  I  have  received  from  Thee  more  special  favors  than 
others;  I  pray  Thee,  do  Thou  increase  the  flames  of  my  love. 
Most  holy  Mary,  obtain  for  me  that  the  love  of  Jesus  may  con 
sume  and  destroy  in  me  every  affection  that  has  not  God  for 
its  object.  Thou  dost  listen  to  the  prayers  of  all  that  call  on 
thee ;  listen  to  me  also,  obtain  for  me  love  and  perseverance. 

MEDITATION    III. 

FIRST  TUESDAY. 
The  Love  of  God  for  Men. 

Sic  Deus  dilexit  mundum,  ut  Filium  suum  unigenitum  daret. 
"  God  so  loved  the  world  as  to  give  His  only-begotten  Son." — St.  John,  iii.  16. 

Consider  that  the  eternal  Father,  in  giving  us  his  Son 
for  a  Redeemer,  for  victim  and  price  of  our  ransom, 
could  not  have  given  us  stronger  motives  for  hope  and 
love,  to  inspire  us  with  confidence,  and  to  oblige  us  to 
love  him.  In  giving  us  bis  Son  (says  St.  Augustine),  he 
could  give  us  nothing  more.  He  desires  that  we  should 
avail  ourselves  of  this  immense  gift  in  order  to  gain  for 
ourselves  eternal  salvation,  and  every  grace  that  we 
want;  whilst  in  Jesus  we  find  all  that  we  can  desire; 
we  find  light,  strength,  peace,  confidence,  love,  and  eter 
nal  glory;  for  Jesus  Christ  is  a  gift  which  contains  all 
the  gifts  that  we  can  seek  for  or  desire. 

How  hath  He  not  also,  with  Him,  given  us  all  things  .?* 
God  having  given  us  his  beloved  only-begotten  Son,  who 
is  the  fountain  and  treasure  of  all  good,  who  need  fear 
that  be  should  deny  us  any  favor  that  we  ask  of  him  ? 
Christ  Jesus  is  of  God  made  unto  us  wisdom,  and  justice,  and 
sanctification,  and  redemption?  God  hath  given  him  to  us 
in  order  that  be  might  be  to  us  ignorant  and  blind  crea- 

"  Quomodo    non  etiam   cum    illo   omnia  nobis  donavit  ?" — Rom. 
viii.  32. 

2  "  Qui  factus  est  nobis  sapientia  a  Deo,  et  justitia,  et  sanctificatio 
et  redemptio," — j  Cor.  i.  30. 


1 78  Meditation  III. 

tures  light  and  wisdom,  wherewith  to  walk  in  the  way 
of  salvation  ;  in  order  that  to  us  who  are  deserving  of 
hell  he  might  be  justice,  enabling  us  to  aspire  to  para 
dise  ;  that  to  us  sinners  he  might  be  sanctification,  to 
obtain  for  us  holiness  ;  that,  finally,  to  us  slaves  of  the 
devil  he  might  be  a  ransom  to  purchase  for  us  the  lib 
erty  of  the  sons  of  God.  In  short,  the  Apostle  says  that 
with  Jesus  Christ  we  have  been  enriched  with  every  good 
gift  and  every  grace,  if  we  ask  it  through  his  merits  : 
In  all  things  you  are  made  rich  in  Him,  .  .  .  so  that  nothing 
is  wanting  to  yon  in  any  grace? 

And  this  gift  which  God  has  made  us  of  his  Son  is  a 
gift  to  each  one  of  us  ;  for  he  hath  given  him  entirely  to 
each  of  us,  as  if  he  had  given  him  to  each  one  alone,  so 
that  every  one  of  us  may  say  :  Jesus  is  all  mine  ;  his 
body  is  mine  ;  his  blood  is  mine  ;  his  life  is  mine  ;  his 
sorrows,  his  death,  his  merits,  are  all  mine.  Wherefore 
St.  PSul  said,  He  loved  me  and  delivered  Himself  for  me.  * 
And  every  one  may  say  the  same  thing:  "My  Redeemer 
has  loved  me;  and  for  the  love  that  he  bore  me  he  hath 
given  himself  entirely  to  me." 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

0  eternal  God  !  who  could  ever  have  given  us  this  treasure 
of  infinite  value,  but  Thou,  who  art  a  God  of  infinite  love?     O 
rny  Creator,  what  more  couldst  Thou  have  done  to  give  us  con 
fidence   in   Thy  mercy,  and  to   put  us  under  an  obligation  of 
loving  Thee?     O  Lord,  I  have  repaid  Thee  with   ingratitude; 
but   Thou    hast    said,  To   them  that  love  God  all  things  work 
together  unto  good?    Therefore,  notwithstanding  the  great  num 
ber  and  the  enormity  of  my   sins,    I   will   not  despair  of  Thy 
bounty;  rather  let  my  transgressions  serve  to  humble  me  the 
more  whenever  I  meet  with  any  insult ;  other  insults  and  humi- 

1  "In   omnibus   divites  factt  estis  in  illo  .   .   .  ita   ut    nihil   vobis 
desit  in  ulla  gratia." — i  Cor.  i.  5. 

2  "  Dilexit  me,  et  tradidit  semetipsum  pro  me." — Gal.  \\.  20. 

3  "  Diligentibus  Deum  omniacooperantur  in  bonum." — Rom.  viii.  28. 


First  Wednesday  of  A  dvent.  1 79 

liations  does  he  deserve  who  has  had  the  temerity  to  offend  Thy 
divine  majesty.  I  wish  that  my  sins  may  serve  to  reconcile  me 
the  more  to  the  crosses  which  Thou  shalt  send  me,  that  I  may 
be  more  diligent  to  serve  and  honor  Thee,  in  order  to  compen 
sate  for  the  injuries  I  have  committed  against  Thee.  O  my 
God  !  I  will  always  remember  the  displeasure  I  have  caused 
Thee,  in  order  that  I  may  the  more  exalt  Thy  mercy,  and  be 
inflamed  with  love  for  Thee,  who  hast  brought  me  back  when  I 
was  flying  from  Thee,  and  who  hast  done  me  so  much  good 
after  I  had  behaved  so  ill  to  Thee.  I  trust,  O  Lord  !  that  Thou 
hast  already  forgiven  me.  I  repent,  and  will  always  repent,  of 
the  outrages  I  have  committed  against  Thee.  I  will  endeavor 
to  please  Thee  by  making  compensation  by  my  love  for  the 
ingratitude  I  have  shown  Thee  ;  but  I  depend  upon  Thee  to 
help  me ;  from  Thee  I  hope  to  obtain  the  grace  to  fulfil  this  my 
desire.  O  my  God !  for  Thy  Glory's  sake,  vouchsafe  to  grant 
that,  as  I  have  offended  Thee  much,  I  may  also  love  Thee 
much.  My  God,  my  God,  how  can  I  ever  leave  off  loving  Thee, 
and  separate  myself  again  from  Thy  love !  O  Mary,  my  queen  ! 
do  thou  assist  me  ;  thou  knowest  my  weakness ;  grant  that  I 
may  have  recourse  to  thee  whenever  the  devil  tries  to  separate 
me  from  God.  My  Mother,  my  hope,  do  thou  help  me. 

MEDITATION    IV. 

"FIRST  WEDNESDAY. 

The  Word  was  made  Man  in  the  Fulness  of  Time. 

Ubi  venit plenitude  temporis  misit  Deus  Filium  suum. 
"  When  the  fulness  of  time  was  come,  God  sent  His  Son."— Gal.  iv.  4. 

Consider  that  God  allowed  four  thousand  years  to 
pass,  after  the  transgression  of  Adam,  before  he  sent 
his  Son  upon  earth  to  redeem  the  world.  And  in  the 
mean  time,  oh,  what  fatal  darkness  reigned  upon  the 
earth!  The  true  God  was  not  known  or  adored,  except 
in  one  small  corner  of  the  world.  Idolatry  reigned 
everywhere  ;  so  that  devils  and  beasts  and  stones  were 
adored  as  gods. 

But  let  us  admire  in  this  the  divine  Wisdom  :  he  de- 


i8o  Meditation  IV. 

ferred  the  coming  of  the  Redeemer  in  order  to  render 
his  advent  more  welcome  to  man,  in  order  that  the 
malice  of  sin  might  be  better  known,  as  well  as  the 
necessity  of  a  remedy  and  the  grace  of  the  Saviour.  If 
Jesus  Christ  had  come  into  the  world  immediately  after 
the  fall  of  Adam,  the  greatness  of  this  favor  would  have 
been  but  slightly  appreciated.  Let  us  therefore  thank 
the  goodness  of  God  for  having  sent  us  into  the  world 
after  the  great  work  of  redemption  was  accomplished. 
Behold,  the  happy  time  is  come  which  was  called  the 
fulness  of  time  :  When  the  fulness  of  time  was  come,  God 
sent  his  Son,  .  .  .  that  he  might  redeem  them  that  were  under 
the  law. 1 

It  is  called  fulness,  on  account  of  the  fulness  of  grace 
which  the  Son  of  God  came  to  communicate  to  men  by 
the  redemption  of  the  world.  Behold  the  angel  who  is 
sent  as  ambassador  into  the  town  of  Nazareth  to  an 
nounce  to  the  Virgin  Mary  the  coming  of  the  Word,  who 
desires  to  become  incarnate  in  her  womb.  The  angel 
salutes  her,  calls  her  full  of  grace  and  blessed  among 
wTomen.  The  humble  Virgin,  chosen  to  be  the  Mother 
of  the  Son  of  God,  is  troubled  at  these  praises  on  account 
of  her  great  humility  :  but  the  angel  encourages  her,  and 
tells  her  that  she  has  found  grace  with  God;  that  is  to 
say,  that  grace  which  brought  peace  between  God  and 
man,  and  the  reparation  of  the  ruin  caused  by  sin.  He 
then  tells  her  that  she  must  give  her  Son  the  name  of 
Saviour:  Thou  shalt  call  his  name  Jesus;'* — and  that  this 
her  Son  is  the  very  Son  of  God,  who  is  to  redeem  the 
world,  and  thus  to  reign  over  the  hearts  of  men.  Be 
hold,  at  last  Mary  consents  to  be  the  Mother  of  such  a 
Son  :  Be  it  unto  me  according  to  Thy  word*  And  the 

1  "  Ubi  venit  plenitudo  temporis,  misit  Deus  Filium  suum  .  . 
ut  eos,  qui  sub  lege  erant,  redimeret." 

2  "  Vocabis  nomen  ejus  Jesum." — Luke,  i.  31. 

3  "  Fiat  mlhi  secundum  verbum  tuum." 


First  Wednesday  of  Advent.  181 

eternal   Word    takes   flesh   and   becomes   man  :  And  the 
Word  was  made  flesh? 

Let  us  thank  this  Son,  and  let  us  also  thank  his 
Mother,  who,  in  consenting  to  be  the  mother  of  such  a 
Son,  consented  also  to  be  the  Mother  of  our  salvation, 
and  Mother  also  of  sorrows,  accepting  at  that  time  the 
deep  abyss  of  sorrows  that  it  would  cost  her  to  be  the 
Mother  of  a  Son  who  was  to  come  into  the  world  to  suf 
fer  and  die  for  man. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

O  divine  Word,  become  man  for  me,  though  I  behold  Thee 
thus  humbled  and  become  a  little  infant  in  the  womb  of  Mary, 
yet  I  confess  and  acknowledge  Thee  for  my  Lord  and  King,  but 
a  king  of  love.  My  dearest  Saviour,  since  Thou  hast  come  down 
upon  earth  and  clothed  Thyself  with  our  miserable  flesh,  in 
order  to  reign  over  our  hearts,  I  beseech  Thee  come  and  estab 
lish  Thy  reign  in  my  heart  also,  which  was  once,  alas,  ruled  over 
by  Thine  enemies,  but  is  now,  I  hope,  Thine,  as  I  desire  that  it 
may  be  always  Thine,  and  that  from  this  day  forth  Thou  mayest 
be  its  only  Lord  :  Rule  Thou  in  the  midst  of  Thy  enemies? 
Other  kings  reign  by  the  strength  of  arms,  but  Thou  comest  to 
reign  by  the  power  of  love  ;  and  therefore  Thou  dost  not  come 
with  regal  pomp,  nor  clothed  in  purple  and  gold,  nor  adorned 
with  sceptre  and  crown,  nor  surrounded  by  armies  of  soldiers. 
Thou  comest  into  the  world  to  be  born  in  a  stable, — poor,  for 
saken,  placed  in  a  manger  on  a  little  straw,  because  thus  Thou 
wouldst  begin  to  reign  in  our  hearts.  Ah,  my  infant  King,  how 
could  I  so  often  rebel  against  Thee,  and  live  so  long  Thy  enemy, 
deprived  of  Thy  grace,  when,  to  oblige  me  to  love  Thee,  Thou 
hast  put  off  Thy  divine  majesty,  and  hast  humbled  Thyself  even 
to  appearing,  first,  as  a  babe  in  a  cave;  then  as  a  servant  in  a 
shop;  then  as  a  criminal  on  a  cross?  Oh,  happy  me,  if,  now 
that  I  have  been  freed  (as  I  hope)  from  the  slavery  of  Satan,  I 
allow  myself  forever  to  be  governed  by  Thee  and  by  Thy  love ! 
O  Jesus,  my  King,  who  art  so  amiable  and  so  loving  to  our 

1  "  Et  Verbum  caro  factum  est." 

5  "  Dominare  in  medio  inimicorum  tuorunj." — /V,  cix.  3,^ 


1 82  Meditation  V. 

souls,  take  possession,  I  pray  Thee,  of  mine;  I  give  it  entirely 
to  Thee ;  accept  it,  that  it  may  serve  Thee  forever,  but  serve 
Thee  only  for  love.  Thy  majesty  deserves  to  be  feared,  but 
Thy  goodness  still  more  deserves  to  be  loved.  Thou  art  my 
King,  and  shalt  be  always  the  only  object  of  my  love;  and  the 
only  fear  I  shall  have  will  be  the  fear  of  displeasing  Thee.  This 
is  what  I  hope.  Do  Thou  help  me  with  Thy  grace.  O  Mary, 
our  dear  Lady !  it  is  for  thee  to  obtain  for  me  that  I  may  be 
faithful  to  this  beloved  King  of  my  soul. 

MEDITATION  V. 

FIRST  THURSDAY. 

The  Abasement  of  Jesus. 

Formam  serin  accifiiens. 
"  Taking  the  form  of  a  servant.'1— Phil.  ii.  7. 

The  eternal  Word  descends  on  earth  to  save  man;  and 
whence  does  he  descend  ?  His  going  out  is  from  the  end  of 
heaven.^  He  descends  from  the  bosom  of  his  divine 
Father,  where  from  eternity  he  was  begotten  in  the 
brightness  of  the  saints.  And  where  does  he  descend  ? 
He  descends  into  the  womb  of  a  Virgin,  a  child  of  Adam, 
which  in  comparison  with  the  bosom  of  God  is  an  object 
of  horror;  wherefore  the  Church  sings,  "Thou  didst  not 
abhor  the  Virgin's  womb."2  Yes,  because  the  Word 
being  in  the  bosom  of  the  Father  is  God  like  the  Father, 
—is  immense,  omnipotent,  most  blessed  and  supreme 
Lord,  and  equal  in  everything  to  the  Father.  But  in  the 
womb  of  Mary  he  is  a  creature,  small,  weak,  afflicted,  a 
servant  inferior  to  the  Father,  taking  the  form  of  a  ser 
vant."  ' 

It    is    related    as   a   great   prodigy   of  humility  in   St 
Alexis  that,  although  he  was  the  son  of  a  Roman  gentle- 

1  "A  summo  coelo  egressio  ejus." — Ps.  xviii.  7. 

2  "  Non  horruisti  virginis  uterum." 

3  "Formam  servi  accipiens.'' — Phil.  ii.  7. 


First  Thursday  of  Advent.  183 

man,  he  chose  to  live  as  a  servant  in  his  father's  house. 
But  how  is  the  humility  of  this  saint  to  be  compared 
with  the  humility  of  Jesus  Christ  ?  Between  the  son  and 
the  servant  of  the  fzither  of  St.  Alexis  there  was,  it  is 
true,  some  difference;  but  between  God  and  the  servant 
of  God  there  is  an  infinite  difference.  Besides,  this  Son 
of  God  having  become  the  servant  of  his  Father,  in 
obedience  to  him,  made  himself  also  the  servant  of  his 
creatures,  that  is  to  say,  of  Mary  and  Joseph:  And  he  was 
subject  to  them.1  Moreover,  he  made  himself  even  a  ser 
vant  of  Pilate,  who  condemned  him  to  death,  and  he 
was  obedient  to  him  and  accepted  it ;  he  became  a  ser 
vant  to  the  executioners,  who  scourged  him,  crowned 
him  with  thorns,  and  crucified  him  ;  and  he  humbly 
obeyed  them  all,  and  yielded  himself  into  their  hands. 

O  God  !  and  shall  we,  after  this,  refuse  to  submit  our 
selves  to  the  service  of  so  loving  a  Saviour,  who,  to  save 
us,  has  subjected  himself  to  such  painful  and  degrading 
slavery  ?  And  rather  than  be  the  servants  of  this  great 
and  so  loving  a  Lord,  shall  we  be  content  to  be  slaves  of 
the  devil,  who  does  not  love  his  servants,  but  hates  them 
and  treats  them  like  a  tyrant,  making  them  miserable 
and  wretched  in  this  world  and  in  the  next?  .But  if  we 
have  been  guilty  of  this  great  folly,  why  do  we  not 
quickly  give  up  this  unhappy  servitude  ?  Courage,  then, 
since  we  have  been  delivered  by  Jesus  Christ  from  the 
slavery  of  hell  ;  let  us  now  embrace  and  bind  around  us 
with  love  those  sweet  chains,  which  will  render  us  ser 
vants  and  lovers  of  Jesus  Christ,  and  hereafter  obtain 
for  us  the  crown  of  the  eternal  kingdom  amongst  the 
blessed  in  Paradise. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

My  beloved  Jesus,  Thou  art  the  Sovereign  of  heaven  and 
earth  ;  but  for  the  love  of  me  Thou  hast  made  Thyself  a  servant 

1  "  Et  erat  subditus  illis."— Luke  ii.  51. 


1 84  Meditation  V. 

even  of  the  executioners  who  tore  Thy  flesh,  pierced  Thy  head, 
and  finally  left  Thee  nailed  on  the  cross  to  die  of  sorrow.  I 
adore  Thee  as  my  God  and  Lord,  and  I  am  ashamed  to  appear 
before  Thee,  when  I  remember  how  often,  for  the  sake  of  some 
miserable  pleasure,  I  have  broken  Thy  holy  bonds,  and  have 
told  Thee  to  Thy  face  that  I  would  not  serve  Thee.  Ah,  Thou 
mayst  justly  reproach  me  :  Thou  hast  burst  my  bands,  and  thou 
saidst :  I  will  not  served  But  still,  O  my  Saviour,  Thy  merits 
and  Thy  goodness,  which  cannot  despise  a  heart  that  repents 
and  humbles  itself,  give  me  courage  to  hope  for  pardon  :  A 
contrite  ami  humble  heart,  O  God,  Thou  wilt  not  despise?  I 
confess,  my  Jesus,  that  I  have  offended  Thee  greatly;  I  confess 
that  I  deserve  a  thousand  hells  for  the  sins  I  have  committed 
against  Thee ;  chasten  me  as  Thou  seest  fit,  but  do  not  deprive 
me  of  Thy  grace  and  love.  I  repent  above  every  other  evil  of 
having  despised  Thee.  I  love  Thee  with  my  whole  heart.  I 
propose  from  this  day  forth  to  desire  to  serve  Thee  and  love 
Thee  a!one.  I  pray  Thee  bind  me  by  Thy  merits  with  the 
chains  of  Thy  holy  love,  and  never  suffer  that  I  see  myself 
released  from  them  ngain.  I  love  Thee  above  everything, 
O  my  deliverer;  and  I  would  prefer  being  Thy  servant  to  being 
master  of  the  whole  world.  And  of  what  avail  would  all  the 
world  be  to  him  who  lives  deprived  of  Thy  grace?  "My 
sweetest  Jesus,  permit  me  not  to  separate  myself  from  Thee, 
permit  me  not  to  separate  myself  from  Thee."3  This  grace  I 
ask  of  Thee,  and  I  intend  always  to  ask  it ;  and  I  beg  of  Thee 
to  grant  me  this  day  the  grace  to  repeat  continually  to  the  end 
of  my  life  this  prayer :  My  Jesus,  grant  that  I  may  never  again 
separate  myself  from  Thy  love.  I  ask  this  favor  of  thee  also, 
O  Mary,  my  Mother :  help  me  by  thy  intercession,  that  I  may 
never  separate  myself  again  from  my  God. 

1  "  Rupisti  vincula  mea,  et  dixisti  :  Non  serviam." — Jer.  ii.  20. 

2  "  Cor  contritum  et  humiliatum,  Deus,  non  despicies." — Isa.  1.  19. 

3  "  Jesu  dulcissime!  ne  permittas  me  seperari  a  te  ;  ne  permittas  me 
seperari  a  te." 


First  Friday  of  A  dvent.  1 8  5 


MEDITATION  VI. 

FIRST  FRIDAY. 
Jesus  enlightens  the  World  and  glorifies  God. 

Creavit  Dominus  novum  su£er  terram. 
"  The  Lord  hath  created  a  new  thing  upon  the  earth."— Jer.  xxxi.  22. 

Before  the  coming  of  the  Messias  the  world  was  buried 
in  a  dark  night  of  ignorance  and  sins.  The  true  God 
was  hardly  known,  save  in  one  single  corner  of  the  earth, 
that  is  to  say,  in  Judea  alone:  In  Judea  God  is  known) 
But  everywhere  else  men  adored  as  gods  devils,  beasts, 
and  stones.  Everywhere  there  reigned  the  night  of  sin, 
which  blinds  souls,  and  fills  them  with  vices,  and  hides 
from  them  the  sight  of  the  miserable  state  in  which  they 
are  living,  as  enemies  of  God  and  condemned  to  hell: 
Thou  hast  appointed  darkness,  and  it  is  night;  in  it  shall  all 
the  beasts  of  the  wood  go  about? 

From  this  darkness  Jesus  came  to  deliver  the  world: 
To  them  that  dwelt  in  the  region  of  the  shadow  of  death,  light 
is  risen."  He  delivered  it  from  idolatry  by  making  known 
to  them  the  light  of  the  true  God;  and  he  delivered 
them  from  sin  by  the  light  of  his  doctrine  and  of  his  di 
vine  example:  For  this  purpose  the  Son  of  God  appeared  that 
He  might  destroy  the  works  of  the  devil.'  The  prophet  Jere- 
mias  foretold  that  God  should  create  a  new  child  to  be 
the  Redeemer  of  men:  The  Lord  hath  created  a  new  thing 
'upon  the  earth?  Tnis  new  child  was  Jesus  Christ.  He  is 

i  "  Notus  in  Judaea  Deus."W.r.  Ixxv.  2. 

*  "  Posuisti  tenebras  et  facta  est  nox  ;  in  ipsa  pertransibunt  omnes 
bestise  silvae." — Ps.  ciii.  20. 

3  "  Habitantibus    in  regione  umbrae   mortis,  lux  orta  est    eis.  - 

Ssa.  ix.  2. 

4  "  In  hoc  apparuit  Filius  Dei,  ut  dissolvat  opera  diaboli.  — I  John, 

Hi.  8. 

6  "  Creavit  Dominus  novum  super  terram.' 


1 86  Meditation  VI. 

the  Son  of  God,  who  is  the  object  of  the  love  of  all  the 
saints  in  paradise,  and  is  the  love  of  the  Father  himself, 
who  thus  speaks  of  him:  This  is  my  beloved  Son,  in  whom  I 
am  well  pleased.1  And  this  Son  is  he  who  made  himself 
man.  A  new  child,  because  he  has  given  more  glory  and 
honor  to  God  in  the  first  moment  of  his  creation  than  all 
the  angels  and  saints  together  have  given  him,  or  shall 
give  him  for  all  eternity.  And  therefore  did  the  angels 
at  the  birth  of  Jesus  sing,  Glory  to  God  in  the  highest.'' 
The  child  Jesus  has  rendered  more  glory  to  God  than  all 
the  sins  of  men  have  deprived  him  of. 

Let  us  therefore,  poor  sinners,  take  courage  ;  let  us 
offer  to  the  eternal  Father  this  Infant;  let  us  present  to 
him  the  tears,  the  obedience,  the  humility,  the  death,  and 
the  merits  of  Jesus  Christ,  and  we  shall  make  compensa 
tion  to  God  for  all  the  dishonor  that  we  have  caused  him 
by  our  offences. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

My  eternal  God,  I  have  dishonored  Thee  by  so  often  pre 
ferring  my  will  to  Thine,  and  my  vile  and  miserable  pleasures 
to  Thy  holy  grace.  What  hope  of  pardon  would  there  be  for 
me,  if  Thou  hadst  not  given  me  Jesus  Christ  on  purpose  that  he 
might  be  the  hope  of  us  miserable  sinners?  He  is  a  propitiation 
for  our  sins*  Yes  ;  for  Jesus  Christ,  in  sacrificing  his  life  in  satis 
faction  for  the  injuries  we  have  done  Thee,  has  given  Thee  more 
honor  than  we  have  dishonor  by  our  sins.  Receive  me,  there 
fore,  O  my  Father,  for  the  love  of  Jesus  Christ.  I  repent, 
O  infinite  Goodness,  of  having  outraged  Thee:  Father,  I  have 
sinned  against  heaven,  and  before  Thee :  I  am  not  worthy  to  be 
called  Thy  son.*'  I  am  not  worthy  of  forgiveness ;  but  Jesus 

1  "  Hie  est  Filius  meus  dilectus,  in  quo  mihi  bene  complacui." — 
Matt.  xvii.  5. 

a  "  Gloria  in  altissimis  Deo." — Luke,  ii.  14. 
"  Ipse  est  propitiatio  pro  peccatis  nostris." — i  John,  ii.  2. 

4  "Pater!  peccavi  in  coelum  et  coram  te;  jam  non  sum  dignus 
vocari  filius  tuus." — Liike,  xv.  21. 


First  Saturday  of  Advent.  187 

Christ  is  worthy  to  be  heard  favorably  by  Thee.  He  prayed 
once  for  me  on  the  cross,  Father,  forgive ; J  and  even  now  in 
heaven  he  is  constantly  begging  Thee  to  receive  me  as  a  son  : 
We  have  an  advocate,  Jesus  Christ,  who  ever  intercedes  for  us? 
Receive  an  ungrateful  son,  who  once  forsook  Thee,  but  now 
returns,  resolved  to  desire  to  love  Thee.  Yes,  my  Father,  I  love 
Thee,  and  will  always  love  Thee.  O  my  Father,  now  that  I 
know  the  love  that  Thou  hast  borne  me,  and  the  patience  Thou 
hast  shown  me  for  for  so  many  years,  I  trust  no  longer  to  live 
without  loving  Thee.  Give  me  a  great  love,  that  may  make  me 
constantly  lament  the  displeasure  I  have  given  Thee,  who  art 
so  good  a  Father;  cause  me  ever  to  burn  with  love  towards 
Thee,  who  art  so  loving  a  Father.  My  Father,  I  love  Thee, 
I  love  Thee,  I  love  Thee  !  O  Mary  !  God  is  my  Father,  and  thou 
art  my  mother.  Thou  canst  do  all  things  with  God;  help  me; 
obtain  for  me  holy  perseverance  and  his  holy  love. 

MEDITATION  VII. 

FIRST  SATURDAY. 
The  Son  of  God  was  laden  with  all  our  Iniquities. 

Dens  Filium  suutn  mittens  in  similitudinem  carnis  peccati,  et  de  peccato  dam- 
navit peccatum  in  carne. 

"  God  sending  His  own  Son,  in  the  likeness  of  sinful  flesh,  even  of  sin,  condemned 
sin  in  the  flesh."— Rom.  viii.  3. 

Consider  the  humble  state  to  which  the  Son  of  God 
chose  to  abase  himself;  he  not  only  vouchsafed  to  take 
upon  him  the  form  of  a  servant,  but  that  of  a  sinful  ser 
vant  :  In  the  likeness  of  sinful  flesh?  Therefore  St.  Bernard 
writes  :  "  He  not  only  assumed  the  form  of  a  servant, 
that  he  might  be  under  subjection,  but  even  that  of  a 
wicked  servant,  that  he  might  be  beaten."  '  He  not  only 
would  assume  the  condition  of  a  servant  to  be  subject 

1  "Pater!  dimitte  illis." — Luke,  xxiii.  34. 

2  "  Interpellat  pro  nobis." — Rom.  viii.  34. 

3  "  In  similitudinem  carnis  peccati." 

4  "Non  solum  formam  servi  accepit,  ut  subesset,  sed  etiam  mali 
servi,  ut  vapularet." — Serm.  de  Pass, 


1 88  Meditation  VII. 

to  others,  he  who  was  Lord  of  all;  but  even  the  appear 
ance  of  a  criminal  servant,  to  be  punished  as  a  male 
factor,  he  who  was  the  Saint  of  all  saints.  For  this  end 
he  clothed  himself  with  the  same  flesh  of  Adam  which 
had  been  infected  by  sin.  And  although  he  did  not 
contract  the  stain  of  sin,  nevertheless  he  took  upon  him 
self  all  the  miseries  which  human  nature  had  contracted 
as  a  penalty  for  sin. 

Our  Redeemer,  in  order  to  obtain  for  us  salvation, 
offered  himself  voluntarily  to  his  Father  to  make  satis 
faction  for  our  sins  :  He  was  offered  because  it  was  His  own 
will.1  And  his  Father  loaded  him  with  all  our  crimse: 
He  hath  laid  on  Him  the  iniquity  of  us  all?  And  thus  behold 
the  divine  Word,  innocent,  most  pure,  and  holy,  behold 
him  even  from  his  infancy  charged  with  all  the  blas 
phemies,  with  all  the  unsightliness,  with  all  the  sacrileges, 
and  with  all  the  crimes  of  men;  become  for  the  love  of 
us  the  object  of  the  divine  malediction,  on  account  of  the 
sins  for  which  he  had  bound  himself  to  satisfy  the  divine 
justice.  So  that  Jesus  charged  himself  with  as  many 
maledictions  as  there  have  ever  been,  or  ever  shall  be, 
mortal  sins  committed  by  all  mankind.  And  thus  he 
presented  himself  to  his  Father,  when  he  came  into  the 
world,  even  from  his  birth,  as  a  criminal  and  a  debtor, 
guilty  of  all  our  sins,  and  as  such  was  condemned  by 
his  Father  to  die  as  a  malefactor  accursed  on  a  cross: 
A nd  of  sin  hath  condemned  sin  in  the  flesh? 

Oh,  if  the  eternal  Father  were  capable  of  feeling  sor 
row,  what  anguish  of  mind  would  he  not  have  felt  at 
being  obliged  to  treat  as  a  criminal,  and  as  the  most 
villanous  criminal  in  the  wor!4,  this  innocent  Son,  his 
beloved  one,  who  was  worthy  of  all  his  love!  Behold  the 

"Oblatus  est,  quia  ipse  voluit." — Isa.  liii.  7. 

"  Et   posuit   Dominus  in  eo   iniquitatem    omnium    nostrum." — 
Isa.  liii.  6. 

3  "  Et  de  peccato  damnavit  peccatum  in  carne." 


First  Saturday  of  Advent.  189 

Man?  said  Pilate,  when  he  showed  him  to  the  Jews  cov 
ered  with  stripes,  in  order  to  move  them  to  compassion 
towards  this  innocent  one  who  had  been  thus  ill-treated. 
Behold  the  Man,  the  eternal  Father  seems  to  say  to  us  all, 
showing  him  to  us  in  the  stable  of  Bethlehem.  This 
poor  child  (he  says)  whom  you  behold,  laid  on  a  manger 
for  beasts,  and  stretched  on  straw,  is  my  beloved  Son,  who 
is  come  into  the  world  to  take  upon  himself  your  sins  and 
your  sorrows;  love  him,  therefore,  because  he  is  infinitely 
worthy  of  your  love,  and  you  are  under  infinite  obliga 
tions  to  love  him. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

O  my  innocent  Saviour,   mirror  without    spot,  love  of    the 

eternal  Father,  chastisements  and  maledictions  did  not  belong 

to  Thee,  but  to  me,  a  miserable  sinner; -but  Thou  wouldst  show 

to  the  world  the  excess  of  love  Thou  didst  bear  us  by  sacrificing 

Thy  life  to  obtain  for  us  pardon   and  salvation,  and  paying  by 

Thy  sufferings  the  penalties  which  we  had  incurred  by  our  sins. 

May  all  creatures  praise  and  bless  Thy  mercy  and  Thy  infinite 

bounty  !     I  thank  Thee  on  behalf  of  all  men,  but  especially  for 

myself:  because  as  I  have  offended  Thee   more  than  others,  so 

Thou  hast  hast  suffered  the  pains  which  Thou  didst  endure 

more  for  me  than  for  others,     Accursed  a  thousand  times  be  all 

those  sinful    pleasures  which   I   have  delighted  in.  and   which 

have  cost  Thee  so  much  sorrow  !    But  since  Thou  hast  paid  the 

price  of  my  ransom,  I   beseech  Thee  let  not  the  blood  which 

Thou  has  spilled  for  love  of  me  be  lost  to  me.     I  am  sorry  that  I 

have  despised  Thee,  O  my  love  ;  but  oh,  grant  me  more  sorrow ; 

make  me  know  the  evil   1   have  committed  in   offending  Thee, 

my  Redeemer  and  my  God,  who  hast  suffered  so  much  to  oblige 

me  to  love  Thee  !    I   love  Thee,  O  infinite  Bounty,  but  I  desire 

to  love  Thee  more;  I   desire  to  love  Thee  as  much  as  Thou 

deservest  to  be  loved.    O  my  Jesus,  do  Thou  cause  Thyself  to  be 

loved  both  by  me  and  by  all  men  ;  for  Thou  dost  indeed  deserve 

to  be  loved.     I  pray  Thee,  enlighten  the  minds  of  those  sinners 

who  will  not  know  Thee  or  will  not  love  Thee;  make  them 

1  "  Ecce  homo." 


1 90  Meditation  VIII. 

understand  what  Thou  hast  done  for  the  love  of  them,  and  the 
ardent  desire  Thou  hast  for  their  salvation.  Most  holy  Mary, 
pray  to  Jesus  for  me,  and  for  all  sinners;  obtain  for  us  light 
and  grace  to  love  thy  Son,  who  has  loved  us  so  much. 

MEDITATION  VIII. 

SECOND  SUNDAY. 
God  Sends  His  Son  to  die  in  order  to  restore  us  to  Life. 

Deus  autem,  qui  dives  est  in  misericordia,  propter  nimiam  charitatem  suam  <?ua 
dilexit  nos,  et  cum  essemus  mortui  peccatis,  convhnficavit  nos  in  Christo. 

"  But  God  (who  is  rich  in  mercy)  for  His  exceeding  charity  wherewith  He  loved 
us,  even  when  we  were  dead  in  sins,  hath  quickened  us  together  in  Christ  — 
Eph.  ii.  4,  5. 

Consider  that  sin  is  the  death  of  the  soul;  because 
this  enemy  of  God  deprives  us  of  divine  grace,  which  is 
the  life  of  the  soul.  We,  therefore,  miserable  sinners, 
were  already  by  our  sins  dead  and  condemned  to  hell. 
God,  through  the  immense  love  which  h-  bears  to  our 
souls,  determined  to  restore  us  to  life;  and  how  did  he 
do  so?  He  sent  his  only-begotten  Son  into  the  world  to 
die,  in  order  that  by  his  death  he  might  restore  us  to 
life. 

With  reason  therefore  does  the  Apostle  call  this  work 
of  love  exceeding  charity;1  too  much  love;  yes,  indeed,  for 
man  could  never  have  hoped  to  receive  life  in  such  a 
loving  manner  if  God  had  not  found  this  means  of  re 
deeming  him:  Having  obtained  eternal  redemption?  All  men 
were  therefore  dead— there  was  no  remedy  for  them. 
But  the  Son  of  God,  through  the  bowels  of  his  mercy, 
hath  come  down  from  heaven,  the  Orient  from  on  high, 
and  has  given  us  life.  Justly,  therefore,  does  the  Apostle 
call  Jesus  Christ  our  life:  When  Christ  shall  appear,  who  is 
your  ti/e.3  Behold  our  Redeemer,  clothed  with  flesh  and 

"Nimiam  charitatem." 
2  "Sterna  redemptione  inventa." — Heb.  ix.  12. 

"  Cum  Christus  apparuerit,  vita  vestra."—  Col.  iii.  4. 


Second  Sunday  of  Advent.  1 9 1 

become  an  infant,  says  to  us:  /  am  come  that  they  may  have 
life,  and  may  have  it  more  abundantly}-  For  this  end  be  ac 
cepted  death,  that  he  might  give  us  life.  It  is  but  reason 
able,  therefore,  that  we  should  live  only  to  God,  who  has 
condescended  to  die  for  us:  Christ  died,  that  they  who  live 
may  not  live  to  themselves,  but  unto  Him  who  died  for  them? 
It  is  reasonable  that  Jesus  Christ  should  be  the  only  sov 
ereign  of  our  heart  since  he  has  spent  his  blood  and  his 
life  to  gain  it  to  himself:  To  this  end  Christ  died  and  rose 
again,  that  He  might  be  Lord  both  of  the  dead  an^  of  the  living? 
O  my  God!  who  would  be  so  ungrateful  a  wretch  as  to 
believe  as  an  article  of  faith  that  God  died  to  secure  his 
love,  and  yet  refuse  to  love  him,  and,  renouncing  his 
friendship,  choose  voluntarily  to  make  himself  a  slave 
of  hell? 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

0  my  Jesus  !  if  Thou  hadst  not  accepted  and  suffered  death 
for  me,  I  should  have  remained  dead  in  my  sins,  without  hope 
of  salvation  and  without  the  power  of  ever  loving  Thee.     But 
after  Thou  hast  obtained  life  for  me  by  Thy  death,  I  have  again 
many  times   voluntarily  forfeited  it  by  returning  to  sin.     Thou 
didst  die  to  gain  my  heart  to  Thyself,  and  I  by  my  rebellion 
have  made  it  a  slave  of  the  devil.     I  lost  all  reverence  for  Thee, 
and  I    said  that  I  would  no  longer  have  Thee  for  my  master. 
All  this  is  true;  but  it  is  also  true  that  Thou  desirest  not  the 
death  of  the  sinner,  but  that  he  should  be  converted  and  live; 
and  therefore  didst  Thou  die  to  give  us  life.     I  repent  of  having 
offended  Thee,  my  dearest  Redeemer;  and  do  Thou  pardon  me 
through  the  merits  of  Thy  Passion  ;  give  me  Thy  grace  ;  give 
me  that  life  which  Thou  hast  purchased  for  me  by  Thy  death, 
and   henceforth  mayest  Thou   have  entire  dominion  over  my 

1  "  Ego  veni  ut  vitam  habeant,  et  abundantius  habeant." — John, 
x.  10. 

2  "  Mortuus  est  Christus,  ut,  et  qui  vivunt,  jam  non  sibi  vivant, 
sed  ei  qui  pro  ipsis  mortuus  est." — 2  Cor.  v.  15. 

8  "  In  hoc  enim  Christus  mortuus  est  et  resurrexit,  ut  et  mortuorum 
Ct  vivorum  dominetur," — Rom.  xiv.  o. 


192  Meditation  IX. 

heart.  Never  let  the  devil  have  possession  of  it  again  ;  he  is  not 
my  God,  he  does  not  love  me,  and  has  not  suffered  anything 
for  me.  In  past  times  he  was  not  the  true  sovereign,  but  the 
robber  of  my  soul  ;  Thou  alone,  my  Jesus,  art  my  true  Lord,  who 
hast  created  and  redeemed  me  with  Thy  blood  ;  Thou  alone 
hast  loved  me,  and  oh,  how  much !  It  is  therefore  only  just 
that  I  should  be  Thine  alone  during  the  life  that  remains  to  me. 
Tell  me  what  Thou  wouldst  have  me  to  do  ;  for  I  will  do  it  all. 
Chastise  me  as  Thou  wilt ;  I  accept  everything  Thou  sendest 
me ;  only  spare  me  the  chastisement  of  living  without  Thy 
love;  make  me  love  Thee,  and  then  dispose  of  me  as  Thou 
wilt.  Most  holy  Mary,  my  refuge  and  consolation,  recommend 
me  to  thy  Son  :  his  death  and  thy  intercession  are  all  my  hope. 

MEDITATION  IX. 

SECOND  MONDAY. 

The  Love  that  the  Son  of  God  has  shown  us  in  the  Redemp 
tion. 

Dilexit  nos,  et  tradidit  semetipsum  pro  nobis. 
"  He  hath  loved  us,  and  hath  delivered  Himself  for  us."— Eph.  v.  2. 

Consider  that  the  eternal  Word  is  that  God  who  is  so 
infinitely  happy  in  himself  that  his  happiness  cannot  be 
greater  than  it  is,  nor  could  the  salvation  of  all  mankind 
have  added  anything  to  it  or  have  diminished  it ;  and 
yet  he  has  done  and  suffered  so  much  to  save  us  miser 
able  worms  that  if  his  beatitude  (as  St.  Thomas  says) 
had  depended  on  that  of  man,  he  could  not  have  done  or 
suffered  more:  "As  if  without  him  He  could  not  be 
happy  ;"  1  and,  indeed,  if  Jesus  Christ  could  not  have 
been  happy  without  redeeming  us,  how  could  he  have 
humbled  himself  more  than  he  has  done,  in  taking  upon 
himself  our  infirmities,  the  miseries  of  infancy,  the 
troubles  of  human  life,  and  a  death  so  barbarous  and 
ignominious  ? 

None  but  God  was  capable  of  loving  to  such  an  excess 
"  Quasi  sine  ipso  beatus  esse  non  posset." — Opusc.  63,  c.  7. 


Second  Monday  of  A dvcnt.  193 

so  wretched  sinners  as  we  are,  and  who  were  so  unworthy 
of  being  loved.  A  devout  author  says  :  If  Jesus  Christ 
had  permitted  us  to  ask  of  him  to  give  us  the  greatest 
proof  of  his  love,  who  would  have  ventured  to  ask  of 
him  that  he  should  become  a  child  like  unto  us,  that  he 
should  clothe  himself  with  all  our  miseries,  and  make 
himself  of  all  men  the  most  poor,  the  most  despised,  and 
the  most  ill-treated,  even  to  being  put  to  death  by  the 
hands  of  executioners,  and  in  the  greatest  torments  upon 
an  infamous  gibbet,  cursed  and  forsaken  by  all,  even  by 
his  own  Father,  who  abandoned  his  Son  that  he  might 
not  abandon  us  in  our  ruin  ? 

But  that  which  we  should  not  have  had  the  boldness 
even  to  think  of,  the  Son  of  God  has  thought  of  and  ac 
complished.  Even  from  his  childhood  he  has  sacrificed 
himself  for  us  to  sufferings,  to  opprobrium,  and  to  death: 
He  hath  loved  us,  and  hat  Ii  delivered  Himself  for  us.1  He 
hath  loved  us,  and  out  of  love  hath  given  us  himself,  in 
order  that  we,  by  offering  him  as  a  victim  to  the  Father, 
in  satisfaction  for  our  debts,  might  through  his  merits 
obtain  from  the  divine  goodness  all  the  graces  that  we 
desire  ;  a  victim  dearer  to  the  Father  than  if  we  had 
offered  him  the  lives  of  all  men  and  of  all  the  angels. 
Let  us  therefore  continually  offer  to  God  the  merits  of 
Jesus  Christ,  and  through  them  let  us  seek  and  hope  for 
every  good. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

My  Jesus,  I  should  indeed  do  great  injustice  to  Thy  mercy 
and  Thy  love,  if,  after  Thou  hast  given  me  so  many  proofs  of 
the  love  Thou  bearest  me,  and  the  desire  Thou  hast  to  save  me, 
I  should  still  distrust  Thy  mercy  and  Thy  love.  My  beloved 
Redeemer,  I  am  a  poor  sinner;  but  Thou  hast  said  that  Thou 
didst  come  to  seek  sinners  :  I  am  not  come  to  call  the  just,  but 
sinners.'2'  I  am  a  poor  infirm  creature, — Thou  earnest  to  cure  • 

1  "  Dilexit  nos  et  tradidit  semetipsum  pro  nobis." 

2  "  Non  enim  veni  vocare  justos,  sed  peccatores." — Matt.  ix.  13. 


194  Meditation  X. 

the  infirm,  and  Thou  didst  say,  They  that  are  whole  need  not 
the  physician,  but  they  that  are  sick.1  I  was  lost  through  my 
sins  ;  but  Thou  didst  come  to  save  the  lost :  The  Son  of  man  is 
come  to  save  that  which  was  lost."*  What,  then,  can  I  fear,  if  I  am 
willing  to  amend  my  life  and  to  become  Thine?  I  have  only 
myself  and  my  own  weakness  to  fear;  but  my  own  weak 
ness  and  poverty  ought  to  increase  my  confidence  in  Thee, 
who  hast  declared  Thyself  to  be  the  refuge  of  the  desti 
tute :  The  Lord  is  become  a  refuge  for  the  poor*  And 
Thou  hast  promised  to  grant  their  desires:  The  Lord  hath 
heard  the  desire  of  the  poor?  Therefore  I  implore  this  favor  of 
Thee,  O  my  Jesus  !  give  me  confidence  in  Thy  merits,  and  grant 
that  I  may  always  recommend  myself  to  God  through  Thy 
merits.  Eternal  Father,  save  me  from  hell,  and  first  from  sin, 
for  the  love  of  Jesus  Christ;  for  the  merits  of  this  Thy  Son  en 
lighten  my  mind  to  obey  Thy  will  ;  give  me  strength  against 
temptations  ;  grant  me  the  gift  of  Thy  holy  love ;  and,  above  all, 
I  beseech  Thee  to  give  me  the  grace  to  pray  to  Thee  to  help 
me,  for  the  love  of  Jesus  Christ,  who  hast  promised  that  Thou 
wilt  grant  to  him  who  prays  in  his  name  whatever  he  asks  of 
Thee.  If  I  continue  to  pray  to  Thee  in  this  way,  I  shall  cer 
tainly  be  saved  ;  but  if  I  neglect  it,  I  shall  certainly  be  lost. 
Most  holy  Mary,  obtain  for  me  this  great  gift  of  prayer,  and 
that  I  may  persevere  in  recommending  myself  constantly  to 
God,  and  also  to  thee,  who  dost  obtain  from  God  whatever  thou 
wiliest. 

MEDITATION  X. 

SECOND  TUESDAY. 

Jesus,  the  Man  of  Sorrows,  from  the  Womb  of  His  Mother. 

Virum  dolorum  et  scientem  infirmitatem, 
"  A  man  of  sorrows,  acquainted  with  infirmity." — Isa.  liii.  3. 

Thus  does  the  prophet  Isaias  designate  our  Lord  Jesus 
Christ  "the  man  of  sorrows;"  yes,  because  this  man  was 

1  "  Non  egent  qui  sani  sunt  medico,  sed  qui    male  habent." — Luke, 
v.  31. 

2  "  Venit  enim  Filius  hominis  salvare  quod  perierat." — Matt,  xviii 
II. 

3  "  Factus  est  Dominus  refugium  pauperi." — Ps.  ix.  10. 

4  "  Desiderium  pauperum  exaudivit  Dominus." — Ps.  x.  17. 


Second  Tuesday  of  Advent.  195 

created  on  purpose  to  suffer,  and  from  his  infancy  began 
to  endure  the  greatest  sorrows  that  any  man  ever  suf 
fered.  The  first  man,  Adam,  enjoyed  for  some  time  upon 
this  earth  the  delights  of  the  earthly  paradise  ;  but  the 
second  Adam,  Jesus  Christ,  did  not  pass  a  moment  of 
his  life  without  sorrows  and  anguish  ;  for  even  from  a 
child  he  was  afflicted  by  the  foresight  of  all  the  suffer 
ings  and  ignominy  that  he  would  have  to  endure  during 
his  life,  and  especially  at  his  death,  when  he  was  to  close 
that  life  immersed  in  a  tempest  of  sorrow  and  oppro 
brium,  as  David  had  predicted  :  /  am  come  into  the  depth 
of  the  sea,  and  a  tempest  hath  overwhelmed  me. ' 

Even  from  the  womb  of  Mary,  Jesus  Christ  accepted 
obediently  the  sacrifice  which  his  Father  had  desired 
him  to  make,  even  his  Passion  and  death :  Becoming 
obedient  unto  death?  So  that  even  from  the  womb  of  Mary 
he  foresaw  the  scourges  and  presented  to  them  his  flesh; 
he  foresaw  the  thorns,  and  presented  to  them  his  head; 
he  foresaw  the  blows,  and  presented  to  them  his  cheeks; 
he  foresaw  the  nails,  and  presented  to  them  his  hands 
and  his  feet  ;  he  foresaw  the  cross,  and  offered  his  life. 
Hence  it  is  true  that  even  from  his  earliest  infancy  our 
blessed  Redeemer  every  moment  of  his  life  suffered  a 
continual  martyrdom;  and  he  offered  it  every  moment 
for  us  to  his  eternal  Father. 

But  what  afflicted  him  most  was  the  sight  of  the  sins 
which  men  would  commit  even  after  this  painful  re 
demption.  By  his  divine  light  he  well  knew  the  malice 
of  every  sin,  and  therefore  did  he  come  into  the  world 
to  do  away  with  all  sins  ;  but  when  he  saw  the  immense 
number  which  would  be  committed,  the  sorrow  that  the 
Heart  of  Jesus  felt  was  greater  than  all  the  sorrows  thai 
all  men  ever  suffered  or  ever  will  suffer  upon  earth. 

1  "Veni   in  altitudinem   maris,  et  tempestas  demersit  me." — Ps, 
Ixviii.  3. 
?  "  Factus  obediens  usque  ad  mortem." — Phil.  ii.  8. 


196  Meditation  X. 


Affections  and  Prayers. 

My  sweetest  Redeemer,  when  shall  I  begin  to  be  grateful  to 
Thy  infinite  goodness?  When  shall  I  begin  to  acknowledge 
the  love  that  Thou  hast  borne  me,  and  the  sorrows  Thou  hast 
endured  for  me?  Hitherto,  instead  of  love  and  gratitude,  I 
have  returned  Thee  offences  and  contempt ;  shall  I  then  con 
tinue  to  live  always  ungrateful  to  Thee,  my  God,  who  hast  spared 
nothing  to  acquire  my  love?  No,  my  Jesus,  it  shall  not  be  so. 
During  the  days  that  may  yet  remain  to  me  I  will  be  grateful  to 
Thee;  and  Thou  wilt,  I  trust,  help  me  to  be  so.  If  I  have  of 
fended  Thee,  Thy  sufferings  and  Thy  death  are  my  hope.  Thou 
hast  promised  to  forgive  the  penitent.  I  repent  with  my  whol« 
soul  of  having  despised  Thee.  Fulfil,  therefore,  Thy  promise, 
my  Beloved,  and  forgive  me.  O  dearest  Infant,  I  behold  Thee 
in  the  manger  already  nailed  to  Thy  cross,  which  is  constantly 
present  to  Thee,  and  which  Thou  dost  already  accept  for  me.  O 
my  crucified  Infant!  I  thank  Thee  for  it,  and  I  love  Thee. 
Stretched  upon  this  straw,  suffering  already  for  me,  and  prepar 
ing  Thyself  even  now  to  die  for  this  love  of  me,  Thou  dost 
command  and  invite  me  to  love  Thee :  Love  the  Lord  thy  God^ 
And  I  desire  nothing  more  than  to  love  Thee.  Since,  therefore, 
Thou  wiliest  that  I  should  love  Thee,  give  me  all  that  love  that 
Thou  requirest  of  me  ;  love  for  Thee  is  Thy  gift,  and  the  greatest 
gift  that  Thou  canst  make  to  a  soul.  Accept,  O  my  Jesus  !  for 
Thy  lover  a  sinner  who  has  so  greatly  offended  Thee.  Thou 
didst  come  from  heaven  to  seek  the  lost  sheep  ;  do  Thou,  there 
fore,  seek  me,  and  I  will  seek  none  other  but  Thee.  Thou  de- 
sirest  my  soul,  and  my  soul  desires  nothing  but  Thee.  Thou 
lovest  him  that  loves  Thee,  and  sayest,  Those  that  love  Me  I 
love?  I  love  Thee,  do  Thou  also  love  me ;  and  if  Thou  lovest 
me,  bind  me  to  Thy  love  ;  but  bind  me  so  that  I  may  never  again 
be  able  to  disengage  myself  from  Thee.  Mary,  my  Mother,  do 
thou  help  me.  Let  it  be  thy  glory  also  to  see  thy  Son  loved  by 
a  miserable  sinner,  who  has  hitherto  so  greatly  offended  him. 

1  "  Diliges  Dominum  Deum  tuum." 

8  "  Ego  diligentes  me  diligo." — Prov.  viii.  17. 


Second  Wednesday  of  Advent.  197 

MEDITATION  XI. 
SECOND  WEDNESDAY. 
Jesus  charged  with  the  Sins  of  the  Whole  World. 

Iniquitates  eorum  ipse  portabit. 
"  He  bore  their  iniquities." — Is.  liii.  n. 

Consider  that  the  divine  Word,  in  becoming  man, 
chose  not  only  to  take  the  form  of  a  sinner,  but  also  to 
bear  all  the  sins  of  men,  and  to  satisfy  for  them  as  if 
they  were  his  own:  He  bore  their  iniquities?  Father  Cor 
nelius  adds,  "  as  if  he  had  committed  them  himself."2 
Let  us  here  reflect  what  an  oppression  and  anguish  the 
heart  of  the  Infant  Jesus  must  have  felt,  who  had  already 
charged  himself  with  the  sins  of  the  whole  world,  in 
finding  that  the  divine  justice  insisted  on  his  making  a 
full  satisfaction  for  them. 

Well  did  our  Lord  know  the  malice  of  every  Sin, 
whilst,  through  the  divine  light  which  accompanied  him, 
he  knew  immeasurably  more  than  all  men  and  angels 
the  infinite  goodness  of  his  Father,  and  how  infinitely 
deserving  he  is  of  being  revered  and  loved.  And  then 
he  saw  drawn  up  in  array  before  him  an  innumerable 
number  of  transgressions  which  were  to  be  committed 
by  men  and  for  which  he  was  to  suffer  and  die.  Our 
Lord  once  showed  to  St.  Catharine  of  Sienna  the  hid- 
eousness  of  one  single  venial  sin;  and  such  was  the  dread 
and  sorrow  of  the  saint  that  she  fell  senseless  to  the. 
ground.  What,  then,  must  have  been  the  sufferings  of 
the  Infant  Jesus  when,  on  his  entrance  into  the  world, 
he  saw  before  him  the  immense  array  of  all  the  crimes 
of  men  for  which  he  was  to  make  satisfaction  ! 

And  then  he  knew  in  particular  every  sin  of  each  one 


"Iniquitates  eorum  ipse  portabit." 
2  "Ac  si  ipse  ea  patrasset." 


198  Meditation  XL 

of  us:  "  He  had  regard  to  every  particular  sin,"1  says  St. 
Bernard  of  Sienna.  And  Cardinal  Hugo  says  that  the 
executioners  "caused  him  exterior  pain  by  crucifying 
him,  but  we  interior  pain  by  sinning  against  him."2  He 
means  that  each  one  of  our  sins  afflicted  the  soul  of  Jesus 
Christ  more  than  crucifixion  and  death  afflicted  his  body. 
Such  is  the  beautiful  recompense  which  has  been  ren 
dered  to  our  divine  Saviour  for  his  love  by  every  one 
who  remembers  to  have  offended  him  by  mortal  sin. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

My  Beloved  Jesus,  I,  who  have  offended  Thee,  am  not  worthy 
of  Thy  favors,  but  through  the  merit  of  that  pain  which  Thou 
didst  suffer,  and  which  Thou  didst  offer  up  to  God  at  the  sight 
of  my  sins,  and  to  satisfy  divine  justice  for  them,  give  me  a 
share  in  that  light  by  which  Thou  didst  see  their  malice,  and  in 
that  hatred  with  which  Thou  didst  then  abominate  them.  Can 
it  then  be  true,  my  amiable  Saviour,  that  ever  since  Thou  wert 
an-  infant,  and  in  every  moment  of  Thy  life,  I  have  been  a  mur 
derer  of  Thy  sacred  heart,  and  a  murderer  more  cruel  than  all 
those  who  crucified  Thee  ?  And  I  have  renewed  and  increased 
this  suffering  every  time  I  have  repeated  my  offences  against 
Thee?  O  Lord!  Thou  hast  indeed  died  to  save  me;  but  Thy 
death  will  not  save  me,  if  I  do  not  on  my  part  detest  every  evil, 
and  have  true  sorrow  for  the  sins  I  have  committed  against  Thee. 
But  even  this  sorrow  must  be  given  me  by  Thee.  Thou  givest 
it  to  him  that  asks  it  of  Thee.  I  ask  it  of  Thee  through  the 
merits  of  all  the  sufferings  Thou  didst  endure  on  this  earth  ;  give 
me  sorrow  for  my  sins,  but  a  sorrow  that  will  correspond  to  my 
transgressions.  Help  me,  O  Lord  !  to  make  that  act  of  contri 
tion  which  I  now  intend  to  do.  O  eternal  God,  supreme  and 
infinite  Good  !  I,  a  miserable  worm,  have  dared  to  lose  respect 
for  Thee,  and  to  despise  Thy  grace ,  I  detest  above  every  evil 
and  abhor  the  injuries  I  have  committed  against  Thee  ;  I  repent 

1  "Ad  quamlibet  culpam  singularem  habuit  aspectum." — T.  ii.  s. 
56,  a.  i,  c.  i. 

'2  "  Fecerunt  eum  dolore  extrinsecus  crucifigendo,  sed  nos  peccando 
intrinsecus." 


Second  Thursday  of  Advent.  199 

of  them  with  my  whole  heart,  not  so  much  on  account  of  hell, 
which  I  have  deserved,  as  because  I  have  offended  Thy  infinite 
goodness.  I  hope  for  pardon  from  Thee  through  the  merits  of 
'esus  Christ:  and  I  hope  also  to  obtain,  together  with  Thy  par 
don  the  grace  of  loving  Thee.  I  love  Thee,  O  God,  who  art 
worthy  of  infinite  love,  and  I  will  always  repeat  to  Thee,  I  love 
Thee,  I  love  Thee,  I  love  Thee ;  and  as  Thy  beloved  St.  Catha 
rine  of  Genoa  said  to  Thee,  while  she  stood  in  spirit  at  Thy 
feet,  O  Thou  crucified  one,  so  will  I  also  say  to  Thee  now  that 
I  am  standing  also  at  Thy  feet,  My  Lord,  no  more  sins,  no  more 
sins!  No,  for  Thou  indeed  dost  not  deserve  to  be  offended,  O 
my  Jesus,  but  Thou  only  deservest  to  be  loved.  My  blessed 
Redeemer,  help  me.  My  mother  Mary,  assist  me,  I  pray  thee , 
I  only  ask  of  thee  to  obtain  for  me  that  I  may  love  God  during 
the  time  that  is  left  me  in  this  life. 

MEDITATION  XII. 

SECOND  THURSDAY. 

Jesus  suffers  during  His  Whole  Life. 

Dolor  me  us  in  conspectu  meo  semper. 
"  My  sorrow  is  continually  before  me."— Ps.  xxxvii.  18. 

Consider  that  all  the  sufferings  and  ignominy  that 
Jesus  endured  in  his  life  and  death,  all  were  present  to 
him  from  the  first  moment  of  his  life:  My  sorrow  is  con 
tinually  before  me;'  1  and  even  from  his  childhood  he  be 
gan  to  offer  them  in  satisfaction  for  our  sins,  beginning 
even  then  to  fulfil  his  office  of  Redeemer.  He  revealed 
to  one  of  his  servants  that  from  the  commencement  of 
his  life  even  until  his  death,  he  suffered  continually;  and 
suffered  so  much  for  each  of  our  sins  that  if  he  had  had 
as  many  lives  as  there  are  men,  he  would  as  many  times 
have  died  of  sorrow,  if  God  had  not  preserved  his  life 
that  he  might  suffer  more. 

Oh,  what  a  martyrdom  did  the  loving  heart  of  Jesus 
constantly  endure  in  beholding  all  the  sins  of  men  ! 

1  "  Dolor  meus  in  conspectu  meo  semper." 


2oo  Meditation  XII. 

He  beheld  every  single  fault?  Even  whilst  he  was  in  the 
womb  of  Mary  every  particular  sin  passed  in  review  be 
fore  Jesus,  and  each  sin  afflicted  him  immeasurably.  St. 
Thomas  says  that  this  sorrow  which  Jesus  Christ  felt  at 
the  knowledge  of  the  injury  done  to  his  Father,  and  of  the 
evil  that  sin  would  occasion  to  the  souls  that  he  loved, 
surpassed  the  sorrows  of  all  the  contrite  sinners  that 
ever  existed,  even  of  those  who  died  of  pure  sorrow;  be 
cause  no  sinner  ever  loved  God  and  his  own  soul  as 
much  as  Jesus  loved  his  Father  and  our  souls.  Where 
fore  that  agony  which  our  Redeemer  suffered  in  the  gar 
den  at  the  sight  of  our  sins  was  endured  by  him  even 
from  his  mother's  womb:  I  am  poor,  and  in  labors  from  my 
youth?  Thus  through  the  mouth  of  David  did  our  Sa 
viour  prophesy  of  himself,  that  all  his  life  should  be 
a  continual  suffering.  From  this  St.  John  Chrysostom 
deduces  that  we  ought  not  to  afflict  ourselves  for  any 
thing  but  for  sin  alone;  and  that  since  Jesus  was  afflicted 
all  his  life  long  on  account  of  our  sins,  so  we  who  have 
committed  them  ought  to  feel  a  continual  sorrow  for 
them,  remembering  that  wre  have  offended  God  who  has 
loved  us  so  much.  St.  Margaret  of  Cortona  never  ceased 
to  shed  tears  for  her  sins:  one  day  her  confessor  said  to 
her,  "Margaret,  no  more  tears;  it  is  enough,  our  Lord 
has  already  forgiven  thee."  "  What,"  answered  the  saint, 
"  how  can  my  tears  and  my  sorrows  suffice  for  the  sins 
for  which  my  Jesus  was  afflicted  all  his  life  long  !" 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

Behold,  my  Jesus,  at  Thy  feet  the  ungrateful  sinner,  the  per 
secutor  who  kept  Thee  in  continual  affliction  during  all  Thy 
life.  But  I  will  say  to  Thee  with  Isaias :  But  Thou  hast  deliv 
ered  my  sold  that  it  should  not  perish  ;  Thou  hast  cast  all  my  sins 

1  "Ad  quamlibet  culpam  singularem  habuit  aspectum." 

2  "  Pauper  sum  ego  et  in  labor! bus  a  juventute  mea." — Ps,  Ixxxvii. 
16. 


Second  Friday  of  Advent.  201 

behind  Thy  back.1  I  have  offended  Thee,  I  have  pierced  Thee 
through  witii  all  my  sins  ;  but  Thou  hast  not  refused  to  bear  on 
Thy  shoulders  all  my  sins  ;  I  have  voluntarily  cast  my  soul  into 
the  fire  of  hell  every  time  that  I  have  consented  to  offend  Thee 
gravely;  and  Thou,  at  the  cost  of  Thy  own  blood,  hast  continu 
ally  liberated  me  and  prevented  me  from  being  entirely  lost. 
My  beloved  Redeemer,  I  thank  Thee.  I  could  wish  to  die  of 
sorrow  when  I  think  how  I  have  abused  Thy  infinite  goodness; 
forgive  me,  my  Love,  and  come  and  take  entire  possession  of  my 
heart.  Thou  hast  said  that  Thou  wouldst  not  disdain  to  enter 
into  the  abode  of  him  that  opens  to  Thee,  and  to  remain  in  his 
company  :  If  any  man  shall  open  to  Me  the  door,  I  will  come  in  to 
him,  and  will  sup  with  him?  If  I  have  hitherto  driven  Thee 
away  from  me,  I  now  love  Thee,  and  desire  nothing  but  Thy 
favor.  Behold,  the  door  is  open,  enter  Thou  into  my  heart,  but 
enter  never  to  depart  from  it  again.  I  am  poor;  but  if  Thou 
enter  Thou  wilt  make  me  rich.  I  shall  always  be  rich  as  long  as 
1  possess  Thee,  the  sovereign  good.  O  Queen  of  Heaven, 
sorrowful  Mother  of  this  suffering  Son,  I  have  also  been  a 
cause  of  sorrow  to  thee,  because  thou  hast  participated,  in 
great  part,  in  the  sufferings  of  Jesus:  my  Mother,  do  thou 
also  forgive  me,  and  obtain  for  me  the  grace  to  be  faithful  to 
thee,  now  that  I  hope  my  Jesus  has  returned  into  my  soul. 


MEDITATION  XIII. 

SECOND  FRIDAY. 
Jesus  wished  to  suffer  so  much  in  order  to  gain  our  Hearts. 

Baptismo  habeo  baptiznri;  et  quomodo  coarctor  usque  dum  perficieitur! 

"  I  have  a  baptism  wherewith  I  am  to  be  baptized;  and  how  am  I  straitened  until 
it  be  accomplished  !" — St.  Luke,  xii.  50. 

Consider  that  Jesus  suffered,  even  from  the  first  mo 
ment  of  his  life,  and  all  for  the  love  of  us.  During  the 
whole  of  his  life  he  had  no  other  object  in  view,  after 

1  "Tu  autem  eruisti  animam  meam,  ut  non  periret;  projecisti  post 
tergum  tuum  omnia  peccatamea." — Isa.  xxxviii.  17. 

8  "Si  quis  ,  .  ,  aperuerit  mihi  januam,  intrabo  ad  ilium,  et 
coenabo  cum  illo." — Apoc.  iii.  20. 


202  Meditation  XIII. 

the  glory  of  God,  than  our  salvation.  He,  as  the  Son  of 
God,  had  no  need  to  suffer  in  order  to  deserve  Paradise  ; 
but  whatever  he  suffered  of  pain,  of  poverty,  of  igno 
miny,  he  applied  it  all  towards  meriting  for  us  eternal 
salvation.  And  even  although  he  could  have  saved  us 
without  suffering,  yet  he  chose  to  embrace  a  life  of  noth 
ing  but  sufferings,  poor,  despised,  and  deprived  of  every 
comfort,  with  a  death  the  most  desolate  and  bitter  that 
was  ever  endured  by  any  martyr  or  penitent,  only  to 
make  us  understand  the  greatness  of  the  love  he  bore 
us,  and  to  gain  our  affections. 

He  lived  thirty-three  years,  and  he  lived  sighing  after 
the  hour  in  which  he  was  to  sacrifice  his  life,  which  he 
desired  to  offer  up  to  obtain  for  us  divine  grace  and 
eternal  glory,  in  order  that  he  might  have  us  with  him 
forever  in  paradise.  It  was  this  desire  which  made  him 
say,  /  have  a  baptism  wherewith  I  am  to  be  baptized;  and  how 
am  I  straitened  until  it  be  accomplished!  1  He  desired  to  be 
baptized  with  his  own  blood,  not  to  wash  out  his  own 
sins,  since  he  was  innocent  and  holy,  but  the  sins  of  men 
whom  he  loved  so  much:  He  loved  us,  and  washed  us  in  his 
own  blood.'2  Oh,  excess  of  the  love  of  God,  which  all  the 
men  and  angels  that  ever  existed  will  never  arrive  at 
understanding  or  praising  as  it  deserves. 

St.  Bonaventure  complains  on  considering  the  great 
ingratitude  of  men  for  so  great  love:  "  It  is  wonderful 
that  the  hearts  of  men  do  not  break  for  love  of  Thee."  3 
It  is  a  wonder,  says  the  saint,  to  see  a  God  endure  such 
sufferings,  shedding  tears  in  a  stable,  poor  in  a  workshop, 
languishing  on  a  cross ;  in  short,  afflicted  and  troubled 

1  "Baptismo   habeo    baptizari;   et   quomodo   coarctor  usque  dum 
perficiatur  !" 

2  "  Dilexit  nos,  et  lavit  nos  a  peccatis  nostris  in  sanguine  suo." — 
Apoc.  i.  5. 

3  "  Mirum  est  quomodo  pro  tuo  amore  corda  hominum  non  scin- 
duntur." — Stim.  div.  am.  p.  2,  c.  2. 


Second  Friday  of  Advent.  203 

the  whole  of  his  life  for  the  love  of  men  ;  and  then  to 
see  iliese  men,  who  not  only  do  not  burn  with  love 
towards  such  a  loving  God,  but  even  have  the  boldness 
to  despise  his  love  and  his  grace.  O  Lord,  how  is  it 
possible  to  know  that  a  God  should  have  given  himself 
up  to  so  much  suffering  for  men,  and  yet  that  there  should 
be  men  who  can  offend,  and  not  love  this  merciful  God! 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

My  beloved  Redeemer,  I  am  also  one  of  those  ungrateful 
wretches  who  have  repaid  Thy  immense  love,  Thy  sorrows,  and 
Thy  death,  with  offences  and  contempt.  O  my  dearest  Jesus! 
how  is  it  possible  that,  seeing  as  Thou  didst  the  ingratitude 
that  I  should  show  Thee  for  all  Thy  mercies,  Thou  couldst  yet 
love  me  so  much,  and  resolve  to  endure  so  much  contempt  and 
suffering  for  me  !  But  I  will  not  despair.  The  evil  is  already 
done.  Give  me,  therefore,  O  my  Saviour,  that  sorrow  which 
Thou  hast  merited  for  me  by  Thy  tears ;  but  let  it  be  a  sorrow 
equal  to  my  iniquities.  O  loving  heart  of  my  Saviour,  once  so 
afflicted  and  desolate  for  my  sake,  and  now  all  burning  with 
love  for  me,  I  beseech  Thee,  change  my  heart,  give  me  a  heart 
that  will  make  reparation  for  the  offences  I  have  committed 
against  Thee,  give  me  a  love  that  will  equal  my  ingratitude ! 

But  I  already  feel  a  great  desire  of  loving  Thee.  I  give  Thee 
thanks,  my  Saviour,  because  I  see  that  Thy  mercy  has  already 
changed  my  heart.  I  hate,  above  every  evil,  the  insults  I  have 
offered  Thee;  1  detest  them,  I  abhor  them.  I  now  esteem  Thy 
friendship  above  all  the  riches  and  kingdoms  of  the  world.  I 
desire  to  please  Thee  as  much  as  is  possible  to  me  ;  I  love  Thee, 
who  art  infinitely  amiable ;  but  I  see  that  this  my  love  is  too 
small.  Do  Thou  increase  the  flame,  give  me  more  love.  Thy 
love  for  me  ought  to  be  responded  to  by  a  greater  degree  of 
love  by  me,  who  have  so  much  offended  Thee,  and  who,  instead 
of  chastisement,  have  received  so  many  special  favors  from 
Thee.  O  sovereign  Good,  permit  me  not  to  be  any  longer  un 
grateful  for  all  the  favors  that  Thou  hast  bestowed  upon  me : 
"  I  will  die  with  love  of  the  love  of  Thee,"  I  will  say  with  St. 
Francis,  "  who  hast  deigned  to  die  for  love  of  the  love  of  me."  ' 
Mary,  my  hope,  help  me  ;  pray  to  Jesus  for  me  ! 

1  "  Moriar  amore  amoris  tui,  qui  amore  amoris  mei  dignatus  es 
mori !" 


204  Meditation  XIV. 


MEDITATION  XIV.* 

SECOND  SATURDAY. 
The  Greatest  Sorrow  of  Jesus. 

Qua  utilitas  in  sanguine  meo,  dum  descendo  in  corruptionem  ? 
"  What  profit  is  there  in  my  blood,  whilst  I  go  down  to  corruption  ?"—/*?.  xxix.  10. 

Jesus  Christ  revealed  to  the  Venerable  Agatha  of  the 
Cross  that  whilst  he  was  in  his  Mother's  womb,  that 
which  afflicted  him  more  than  any  other  sorrow  was  the 
hardness  of  the  hearts  of  men,  who  should,  after  his  Re 
demption,  despise  the  graces  which  he  came  into  the 
world  to  diffuse.  And  he  had  expressed  this  sentiment 
before,  by  the  mouth  of  David,  in  the  words  just  quoted, 
which  are  generally  thus  understood  by  the  holy  Fa 
thers:  What  profit  is  there  in  my  blood,  whilst  I  go  down,  to 
corrupton  ?  l  St.  Isidore  explains  whilst  /  descend  into  cor 
ruption,  "  whilst  I  descend  to  take  the  nature  of  man,  so 
corrupted  by  vices  and  sins;"  as  if  he  had  said,  UO  my 
Father,  I  am  indeed  going  to  clothe  myself  with  human 
flesh,  in  order  to  shed  my  blood  for  men;  but  what  profit 
is  there  in  my  blood?"— the  greater  part  of  the  world  will 
set  no  value  on  my  blood,  and  will  go  on  offending  me, 
as  if  I  had  done  nothing  for  the  love  of  them." 

This  sorrow  was  the  bitter  chalice  which  Jesus  begged 
the  Eternal  Father  to  remove  from  him,  saying:  Let  this 
chalice  pass  from  Me"  2  What  chalice  ?  The  sight  of  the 
contempt  with  which  his  love  was  treated.  This  made 
him  exclaim  again  on  the  cross:  My  God,  my  God,  why  hast 
thou  forsaken  Me?  3  Our  Lord  revealed  to  St.  Catharine 

"  Quae  utilitas  in  sanguine  meo,  dum  descendo  in  corruptionem?" 


"  Transeat  a  me  calix  iste  V'—Matt.  xxvi.  39. 


"Deus   meus!    Deus    meus  !   ut   quid   dereliquisti   me?"— Matt. 
xxvii.  46. 

*  On  December  16  we  begin  the  Novena,  page  214. 


Second  Saturday  of  Advent.  205 

of  Sienna,  that  this  was  the  abandonment  of  which  he 
complained — the  knowledge,  namely,  that  his  Father 
would  have  to  suffer  that  his  Passion  and  his  love  should 
be  despised  by  so  many  men  for  whom  he  died. 

And  this  same  sorrow  tormented  the  Infant  Jesus  in 
the  womb  of  Mary,  the  foresight  of  such  a  prodigality  of 
sorrows,  of  ignominy,  of  blood-shedding,  and  of  so 
cruel  and  ignominious  a  death,  and  all  to  so  little  pur 
pose.  The  holy  Child  saw,  even  there,  what  the  Apostle 
says,  that  many  (indeed  the  greater  number)  should 
trample  under  foot  his  blood,  and  despise  his  grace, 
which  this  blood  would  obtain  for  them:  Treading  under 
foot  the  Son  of  God,  ami  offering  an  affront  to  the  Spirit  of 
grace?  But  if  we  have  been  of  the  number  of  these  un 
grateful  men,  let  us  not  despair;  Jesus,  at  his  birth, 
came  to  offer  peace  to  men  of  good-will,  as  he  made  the 
angels  sing  :  And  on  earth  peace  to  men  of  good-lull!.*  Let 
us,  then,  change  our  will,  repent  of  our  sins,  and  resolve 
to  love  this  good  God,  and  we  shall  find  peace,  that  is, 
the  divine  friendship. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

0  my  most  amiable  Jesus,  how  much  have  I  too  caused  Thee 
to  suffer  during  Thy  lifetime  !     Thou  hast  shed  Thy  blood  for 
me  with  so  much  sorrow  and  love,  and  what  fruit  hast  Thou 
hitherto  drawn  from   me  but  contempt,  offences,  and  insults  ? 
But,  my  Redeemer,  I  will  no  longer  afflict  Thee  ;  I  hope  that  in 
future  Thy   Passion   will   produce   fruit  in   me  by  Thy  grace, 
which   I   feel  is  already  assisting  me.     I  will  love  Thee  above 
every  other  good  ;  and  to  please  Thee,  I  am  ready  to  give  my 
life  a  thousand  times.     Eternal  Father,  I  should  not  have  the 
boldness  to  appear  before  Thee  to  implore  either  pardon  or 
graces,  but  Thy  Son  has  told  me,  that  whatever  grace  I  ask  of 
Thee  in  his  name  Thou  wilt  grant  it  to  me  :  If  ye  shall  ask  any- 

1  "  Filium  Dei  conculcaverit  .   .   .   ,  et  spiritui  gratiae  contumeliam 
fecerit  V—Heb.  x.  29. 

9  "  Et  in  terra  pax  hominibus  bonae  voluntatis." — Luke,  ii.  14. 


206  Meditation  XV. 

thing  of  the  Father  in  my  name,  he  will  give  it  you.*  I  offer 
Thee,  therefore,  the  merits  of  Jesus  Christ,  and  in  his  name  I 
ask  of  Thee  first  a  general  pardon  of  all  my  sins;  I  ask  holy 
perseverance  even  unto  death ;  I  ask  of  Thee,  above  all,  the  gift 
of  Thy  holy  love,  that  it  may  make  me  always  live  according  to 
Thy  divine  will.  As  to  my  own  will,  I  am  resolved  to  choose  a 
thousand  deaths  sooner  than  offend  Thee,  and  to  love  Thee 
with  my  whole  heart,  and  to  do  everything  that  I  possibly  can 
to  please  Thee.  But  in  order  to  do  all  this,  I  beg  of  Thee,  and 
hope  to  receive  from  Thee,  grace  to  execute  what  I  purpose. 
My  Mother  Mary,  if  thou  wilt  pray  for  me,  I  am  safe.  Oh,  pray 
for  me,  pray ;  and  cease  not  to  pray  till  thou  seest  that  I  am 
changed,  and  made  what  God  wishes  me  to  be. 

MEDITATION  XV. 

SECOND  SUNDAY. 
The  Poverty  of  the  Infant  Jesus. 

Invenientes  infantem  .  .   .  positum  in  priesepio. 
"  You  shall  find  the  infant  laid  in  a  manger." — St.  Luke,  ii.  16. 

The  Holy  Church,  in  contemplating  this  great  mys 
tery  and  prodigy  of  a  God  being  born  in  a  stable,  ex 
claims,  full  of  admiration,  "O  great  mystery!  O  won 
derful  sacrament  !  for  animals  to  behold  the  Lord  lying 
in  a  manger."2 

In  order  to  contemplate  with  tenderness  and  love  the 
birth  of  Jesus,  we  must  pray  the  Lord  to  give  us  a  lively 
faith.  If  without  faith  we  enter  into  the  grotto  of  Beth 
lehem,  we  shall  have  nothing  but  a  feeling  of  compassion 
at  seeing  an  infant  reduced  to  such  a  state  of  poverty 
that,  being  born  in  the  depth  of  winter,  he  is  laid  in  a 
manger  of  beasts,  without  fire,  and  in  the  midst  of  a  cold 
cavern.  But  if  we  enter  with  faith,  and  consider  what 

1  "Si  quid  petieritis  Patrem  in  nomine  meo,  dabit  vobis." — John, 
xvi.  23. 

2  "  O  magnum  mysterium  et  admirabile  sacramentum,  ut  animalia 
viderent  Dominum  natum,  jacentem  in  prsesepio  !" — Off.  Nat.resp.  4. 


Second  Sunday  of  Advent.  207 

an  excess  of  bounty  and  love  it  was  in  a  God  to  humble 
himself  to  appear  like  a  little  child,  wrapped  in  swad 
dling-clothes,  placed  on  straw,  crying  and  shivering  with 
cold,  unable  to  move,  depending  for  subsistence  on  his 
mother's  milk,  how  is  it  possible  that  we  should  not  feel 
ourselves  gently  constrained  to  give  all  our  affections  to 
this  Infant  God,  who  has  reduced  himself  to  this  state 
to  make  us  love  him  !  St.  Luke  says  that  the  shepherds, 
after  having  visited  Jesus  in  the  manger,  returned  glorify 
ing  and  praising  God  for  all  the  things  they  had  heard  and 
seen.1  And  yet  what  had  they  seen  ?  Nothing  more  than 
a  poor  child  trembling  with  cold  on  a  little  straw  ;  but, 
being  enlightened  by  faith,  they  recognized  in  this  child 
the  excess  of  divine  love  ;  and  inflamed  by  this  love  they 
went  on  their  way  glorifying  God,  that  they  had  the 
happiness  to  behold  a  God  who  had  emptied  himself  *  and 
annihilated  himself  for  the  love  of  men. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

O  my  amiable  and  sweet  Infant!  although  I  behold  Thee  so 
poor  and  lying  on  straw,  yet  I  confess  and  adore  Thee  as  my 
Lord  and  Creator.  I  know  what  it  was  that  reduced  Thee  to  so 
miserable  a  state  :  it  was  the  love  that  Thou  didst  bear  me.  But 
when  I  remember,  O  my  Jesus!  how  I  have  treated  Thee  in 
times  past,  the  injuries  I  have  committed  against  Thee,  I  won 
der  in  myself  how  Thou  hast  borne  with  me.  Accursed  sins, 
oh,  what  have  you  done  !  You  have  made  me  cause  bitterness 
to  the  heart  of  my  beloved  Saviour.  Oh,  my  dearest  Redeemer, 
for  the  sake  of  the  sufferings  Thou  didst  endure  and  the  tears 
Thou  didst  shed  in  the  stable  of  Bethlehem,  give  me  tears,  give 
me  a  great  sorrow,  that  may  make  me  all  my  life  long  lament 
the  displeasure  I  have  caused  Thee.  Grant  me  a  love  for  Thee, 
but  such  a  love  as  may  compensate  for  the  offences  I  have  com 
mitted  against  Thee.  I  love  Thee,  my  Infant  Saviour;  I  love 
Thee,  my  Infant  God ;  I  love  Thee,  my  love,  my  life,  my  all.  I 

1  "  Reversi  sunt  pastores  glorificantes  et  laudantes   Deum  in  omni 
bus  quae  audierantet  viderant." — Luke,  ii.  20. 
9  ''  Semetipsurn  exinanivit  \"  —  Phil.  ii.  7. 


208  Meditation  XVI. 

promise  Thee  from  this  day  forth  to  love  none  but  Thee.  Do 
Thou  help  me  by  Thy  grace,  without  which  I  can  do  nothing. 
Mary,  my  hope,  thou  dost  obtain  whatever  thou  wiliest  from 
thy  Son,  obtain  for  me  his  holy  love  ;  my  Mother,  hear  me ! 

MEDITATION  XVI. 

THIRD  MONDAY. 
Jesus  is  the  Fountain  of  Grace0 

Haurietis  aquas  in  gaudio  de  fontlbus  Sal-'atoris. 
"  You  shall  draw  waters  with  joy  out  of  the  Saviour's  fountains."— Isa.  xii.  3. 

Consider  the  four  fountains  of  grace  that  we  have  in 
Jesus  Christ,  as  contemplated  by  St.  Bernard. 

The  first  is  that  of  mercy,  in  which  we  can  wash  our 
selves  from  all  the  filthiness  of  our  sins.  This  fountain 
was  formed  for  us  by  our  Redeemer  with  his  tears  and 
his  blood:  He  loved  us,  and  washed  us  from  our  sins  in  his 
own  blood.1 

The  second  fountain  is  that  of  peace  and  consolation 
in  our  tribulations:  Call  upon  me  (saith  Jesus  Christ)/// 
the  day  of  trouble,  and  I  will  console  thee?  He  that  thirtieth, 
let  him  come  to  me?  He  that  thirsteth  for  true  consolations 
even  in  this  world,  let  him  come  to  me,  for  I  will  satisfy 
him.  He  that  once  tastes  the  water  of  my  love  will  for 
ever  disdain  all  the  delights  of  the  world:  But  he  that 
shall  drink  of  the  water  that  I  will  give  him  shall  not  thirst 
forever."  And  thoroughly  contented  will  he  be  when  he 
shall  enter  into  the  kingdom  of  the  blessed,  for  the  water 
of  my  grace  shall  raise  him  from  earth  to  heaven.  It 
will  become  in  him  a  fountain  of  water  springing  up  into  life 

"  Dilexit  nos,  et  lavit  nos  a  peccatis  nostris  in  sanguine  suo.*- 
Apoc.  i.  5. 

"  Invoca  me  in  die  tribulationis  ;  eruam  te."— Ps.  xlix.  15. 
"Si  quis  sitit,  veniat  ad  me,  et  bibat." — John,  vii.  37. 
"  Qui  autem  biberit  ex  aqua  quam  ego  dabo  ei,    non   sitiet  in 
aeternum." — John,  iv.  13. 


Third  Monday  of  Advent.  209 

everlasting.''  The  peace  which  God  gives  to  the  souls 
that  love  him  is  not  the  peace  that  the  world  promises 
from  sensual  pleasures,  which  leave  in  the  soul  more  bit 
terness  than  peace  ;  the  peace  which  God  bestows  ex 
ceeds  all  the  pleasures  of  the  senses:  Peace  which  surpass- 
eth  all  understanding?  Blessed  are  those  who  long  for 
this  divine  fountain.  Blessed  are  they  that  hunger  and 
thirst  after  justice? 

The  third  fountain  is  that  of  devotion.  Oh,  how  de 
vout  and  ready  to  execute  the  divine  will,  and  increasing 
every  day  in  virtue,  is  he  who  constantly  meditates  on 
all  that  Jesus  Christ  has  done  for  our  sake!  He  will  be 
like  the  tree  planted  by  a  stream  of  water:  He  shall  be 
like  a  tree  that  is  planted  near  the  running  waters? 

The  fourth  fountain  is  that  of  love:  In  my  meditation  a 
fire  shall  flame  out."  It  is  impossible  to  meditate  on  the 
sufferings  and  ignominy  borne  by  Jesus  Christ  for  the 
love  of  us,  and  not  to  feel  inflamed  by  that  blessed  fire 
which  he  came  upon  earth  to  enkindle.  How  true  it  is, 
then,  that  he  who  avails  himself  of  these  blessed  foun 
tains  of  Jesus  Christ  will  always  draw  from  them  waters 
of  joy  and  of  salvation!  You  shall  draw  waters  with  joy 
out  of  the  Saviour  s  fountains? 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

0  my  sweet  and  dearest  Saviour,  how  much  do  I  not  owe 
Thee !     What  an  obligation  hast  Thou  put  upon  me  of  loving 
Thee,  since  Thou   hast  done  for  me  what  no  son  would  have 
done  for  his  father,  and  no  servant  for  his  master!     If  Thou, 
therefore,  hast  loved  me   above  every  one  else,  it  is  only  just 

1  "  Fiet  in  eo  fons  aquae  salientis  in  vitam  setevnam." 

•  "Pax  Dei,  quae  exsuperat  omnem  sensum." — Phil.  iv.  7. 
a  "  Beati,  qui  esuriunt  et  sitiunt  justitiam  !" — Matt.  v.  6. 

4  "Erit  tamquam  lignum  quod  plantatum  est  secus  decursus  aqua- 
rum." — Ps.  i.  3. 

5  "  In  meditatione  mea  exardescet  ignis." — Ps.  xxxviii.  4. 
8  "  Haurietis  aquas  in  gaudio  de  fontibus  Salvatoris," 

14 


2 1  o  Meditation  X  VII. 

that  I  should  love  Thee  above  all  others.  I  could  wish  to  die 
with  sorrow  at  the  thought  that  Thou  hast  suffered  so  much 
for  me,  and  that  Thou  didst  accept  for  my  sake  the  most  painful 
and  ignominious  death  that  it  is  possible  for  a  man  to  endure  ; 
and  yet  I  have  so  often  despised  Thy  friendship.  How  many 
times  hast  Thou  forgiven  me,  and  I  have  despised  Thee  afresh  ? 
But  Thy  merits  are  my  hope.  I  now  esteem  Thy  grace  above 
all  the  kingdoms  of  the  world.  I  love  Thee,  and  for  Thy  love  I 
accept  every  sorrow,  every  kind  of  death.  And  if  I  am  not 
worthy  to  die  for  Thy  glory  by  the  hand  of  executioners,  I 
accept  at  least  willingly  that  death  which  Thou  hast  allotted  to 
me;  and  I  accept  it  in  the  manner  and  at  the  time  that  Thou 
shalt  choose.  My  dear  Mother  Mary,  obtain  for  me  the  grace 
always  to  live  and  to  die  loving  Jesus. 

MEDITATION  XVII. 

THIRD  TUESDAY. 
Jesus  the  Charitable  Physician  of  our  Souls. 

Orietur  vobis  .  .  .  Soljustitia^  et  sanitas  in  pennis  ejus. 
"  But  unto  you  the  sun  of  justice  shall  arise,  and  health  in  his  wings." — Mai.  iy.  2. 

Your  physician  will  come,  says  the  prophet,  to  cure 
the  infirm;  and  he  will  come  swiftly  like  the  bird  that 
flies,  and  like  the  sun,  which  on  rising  from  the  horizon, 
instantly  sends  its  light  to  the  other  pole.  But  behold 
him,  he  is  already  come.  Let  us  console  ourselves,  and 
return  thanks  to  him. 

St.  Augustine  says,  "  He  descends  to  the  bed  of  the 
sick;"  1  that  is  to  say,  even  to  taking  upon  him  our  flesh, 
for  our  bodies  are  the  beds  of  our  infirm  souls. 

Other  physicians,  if  they  love  their  patients,  do  indeed 
use  all  their  efforts  to  cure  them;  but  what  physician,  in 
order  to  cure  the  sick  man,  ever  took  upon  himself  his 
disease  ?  Jesus  Christ  has  been  that  physician,  who 
charged  himself  with  our  infirmities  in  order  to  cure 
them.  Neither  would  he  content  himself  with  sending 

1  '•  Descendit  usque  ad  lectum  aegrotantis," — Serm.  87,  E.  B. 


Third  J^ues day  of  Advent.  211 

another  in  his  place,  but  he  chose  to  come  himself  to 
fulfil  this  charitable  office,  in  order  to  gain  to  himself 
all  our  love:  He  hath  borne  our  infirmities  and  carried  our 
sorrows}  He  chose  to  heal  our  wounds  with  his  own 
blood,  and  by  his  death  to  deliver  us  from  eternal  death, 
which  we  had  deserved;  in  short,  he  chose  to  swallow 
the  bitter  draught  of  a  life  of  continual  sufferings  and 
a  painful  death,  to  obtain  for  us  life,  and  deliver  us  from 
our  many  evils. 

The  chalice  which  My  Father  hath  given  Mey  shall  I  not 
drink  it  ? 2  said  he  to  St.  Peter.  It  was  necessary,  then, 
that  Jesus  Christ  should  suffer  so  many  ignominies  to 
heal  our  pride;  that  he  should  embrace  such  a  life  of 
poverty  to  cure  our  covetousness;  that  he  should  be 
overwhelmed  in  a  sea  of  troubles,  and  even  die  of  pure 
sorrow,  to  cure  our  eagerness  after  sensual  pleasures. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

May  Thy  charity,  O  my  Redeemer !  be  forever  praised  and 
blessed.  And  what  would  become  of  my  soul,  thus  infirm  and 
afflicted  with  the  many  sores  of  my  sins,  if  I  had  not  Thee,  my 
Jesus,  who  both  art  able  and  willing  to  heal  me  ?  O  blood  of  my 
Saviour,  I  trust  in  thee  ;  wash  me  and  cure  me.  I  repent,  O  my 
love,  of  having  offended  Thee.  Thou  hast  led  a  life  of  such 
tribulations,  and  hast  died  so  bitter  a  death  to  prove  to  me  the 
love  Thou  dost  bear  me.  I  would  fain  show  Thee  how  much  I 
love  Thee;  but  what  can  I  do  who  am  so  miserable  and  weak? 

0  God  of  my  soul !  Thou  art  omnipotent;  Thou  canst  heal  me, 
and  make  me  holy.    Oh,  kindle  in  me  a  great  desire  of  pleasing 
Thee.     I   renounce   all    my  pleasures   to  please  Thee,   my  Re 
deemer,  who  dost  deserve  to  be  pleased  at  all  costs.    O  sovereign 
Good  !  I  esteem  Thee  and  love  Thee  above  every  good  ;  make 
me  love  Thee  with  all  my  heart,  and  always  implore  Thy  love, 

1  have  hitherto  offended  Thee,  and  have  not  loved  Thee,  be- 

1  "  Vere  languores  nostros  ipse  tulit,  et  dolores  nostros  ipse  por- 
tavit." — Isa.  liii.  4. 

2  "  Calicem    quern   dedit   mihi    Pater,  non   bibam   ilium?" — John, 
xviii.  ii. 


2 1 2  Meditation  X  VIII. 

cause  I  have  not  sought  Thy  love.  I  now  beg  of  Thee  this  love, 
and  the  grace  always  to  seek  it.  Oh,  grant  my  prayer  by  the 
merits  of  Thy  Passion.  O  Mary  my  Mother!  thou  art  always 
prepared  to  hear  the  prayer  of  him  that  calls  upon  thee.  Thou 
lovest  him  that  loves  thee.  I  love  thee,  my  Queen;  obtain  for 
me  the  grace  to  love  God,  and  I  ask  nothing  more  of  thee. 

MEDITATION  XVIII. 

THIRD  WEDNESDAY. 
We  should  hope  all  Things  from  the  Merits  of  Jesus  Christ. 

Proprio  Filio  suo  non  pepercit;  sed pro  nobis  omnibus  tradidit  ilium. 

"  He  that  spared  not  even  His  own  Son,  but  delivered  Him  up  for  us  all."— 
Rom.  viii.  32. 

Consider  that,  since  the  Eternal  Father  has  given  us 
his  ,own  Son  to  be  our  mediator  and  advocate  with 
him,  and  the  victim  in  satisfaction  for  our  sins,  we  can 
not  despair  of  obtaining  from  God  whatever  favor  we 
ask  of  him,  if  we  avail  ourselves  of  the  help  of  such  a 
Redeemer.  How  hath  he  'not  also,  with  Him,  given  us 
all  things  ?  '  adds  the  Apostle.  What  can  God  deny  us 
when  he  has  not  denied  us  his  Son  ? 

None  of  our  prayers  deserve  to  be  heard  or  granted 
by  the  Lord,  for  we  do  not  deserve  graces  but  punish 
ment  for  our  sins;  but  Jesus  Christ  who  intercedes  for  us, 
an,d  offers  for  us  all  the  sufferings  of  his  life,  his  blood,  and 
his  4eath,  does  indeed  deserve  to  be  heard.  The  Father 
cannot  refuse  anything  to  so  dear  a  Son,  who  offers  him  a 
price  of  infinite  value.  He  is  innocent;  all  that  he  pays 
to  divine  justice  is  to  satisfy  our  debts;  and  the  satis 
faction  he  offers  is  infinitely  greater  than  all  the  sins  of 
men.  It  would  not  be  just  that  a  sinner  should  perish 
who  repents  of  his  sins,  and  offers  to  God  the  merits  of 
Jesus  Christ,  who  has  already  superabundantly  atoned 
for  him. 

1  "Quomodo  non  etiain  cum  illo  omnia  nobis  donavit?" 


Third  Wednesday  of  Advent.  213 

Let  us  therefore  thank  God,  and  hope  all  things  from 
the  merits  of  Jesus  Christ. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

No,  my  God  and  my  Father,  I  can  no  longer  distrust  Thy 
mercy;  I  cannot  fear  that  Thou  wilt  refuse  me  the  pardon  of  all 
the  sins  I  have  committed  against  Thee,  and  that  Thou  wilt 
withhold  from  me  the  graces  necessary  for  my  salvation,  since 
Thou  hast  given  me  Thy  Son,  in  order  that  I  should  offer  him 
to  Thee.  Thou  hast  given  me  Jesus  Christ  on  purpose  to 
pardon  me,  and  to  render  me  capable  of  receiving  Thy  grace, 
and  Thou  hast  commanded  me  to  offer  him  to  Thee,  and  to 
hope  for  salvation  from  Thee  for  his  merits.  Yes,  my  God,  I 
will  obey  Thee,  and  I  thank  Thee.  I  offer  Thee  the  merits  of 
this  Thy  Son,  and  through  them  I  hope  for  grace  to  remedy 
my  weakness,  and  all  the  injuries  that  I  have  done  myself  by 
my  sins.  I  repent,  O  infinite  Goodness  !  of  having  offended 
Thee,  and  I  love  Thee  above  everything;  and  from  this  day 
forth  I  promise  Thee  to  love  none  but  Thee.  But  my  promise 
will  be  of  no  avail  if  Thou  dost  not  help  me.  For  the  love  of 
Jesus  Christ,  give  me  light  and  strength  to  accomplish  all  Thy 
holy  will.  Trusting,  therefore,  in  the  merits  of  Jesus  Christ,  I 
hope  that  Thou  wilt  grant  my  prayer.  Mary,  my  mother  and 
my  hope,  I  beseech  thee  also,  for  the  love  of  Jesus  Christ,  to 
obtain  for  me  this  grace.  O  my  Mother,  listen  to  my  prayer. 


214  Meditations  for  the  Novena  for  Christmas. 


for  tfye  Not^na  for  €l)ri0ttnas.* 

MEDITATION  I. 

DECEMBER  16. 
God  has  given  Us  his  only  Son  to  save  Us. 

Dedi  te  in  lucent  gentium^  ut  sis  salus  inea  usque  ad  extremum  terra. 

"  I  have  given  Thee  to  be  the  light  of  the  Gentiles,  that  Thou  mayest  be  My  sal 
vation  even  to  the  farthest  part  of  the  earth."— Isa.  xlix.  6. 

Consider  that  the  Eternal  Father  addressed  these 
words  to  the  Infant  Jesus  at  the  instant  of  his  concep 
tion  :  /  have  given  Thee  to  be  the  light  of  the  Gentiles,  that 
Thou  mayest  be  My  salvation?  My  Son,  I  have  given  Thee 
to  the  world  for  the  light  and  life  of  all  people,  in  order 
that  Thou  mightest  procure  for  them  their  salvation, 
which  I  have  as  much  at  heart  as  if  it  were  my  own. 
Thou  must  therefore  employ  Thyself  entirely  for  the 
well-being  of  men:  "  Wholly  given  to  man,  Thou  must 
be  wholly  spent  in  his  service."2  Thou  must  therefore, 
at  Thy  birth,  suffer  extreme  poverty,  in  order  that  men 
may  become  rich,  ''that  Thou  mayest  enrich  them  by 
Thy  poverty."  3  Thou  must  be  sold  as  a  slave  to  acquire 
liberty  for  man;  and  Thou  must  be  scourged  and  cruci 
fied  as  a  slave  to  satisfy  my  justice  for  the  punishment 
due  to  man.  Thou  must  give  Thy  blood  and  Thy  life 
to  deliver  man  from  eternal  death;  in  short,  Thou  art  no 

1  "  Dedi  te  in  lucem  gentium,  ut  sis  salus  mea  usque  ad  extremum 
terrse." 

2  "Totus  illi  datus,  totus  in  suos  usus  impenderis." — S.  Bern. 

3  "  Ut  tua  inopia  dites." 

*  Further  on,  page  300,  we  shall  find  another  Novena  of  meditations 
with  the  chaplet  to  be  recited  before  every  meditation. 


First  Meditation.  215 

longer  Thine  own,  but  Thou  belongest  to  man:  A  child 
is  born  to  us,  a  son  is  given  to  us.1  Thus,  my  beloved  Son, 
man  will  be  constrained  to  love  me,  and  to  be  mine, 
tthen  he  sees  that  I  give  Thee,  my  only-begotten  one, 
entirely  to  him,  and  that  there  is  nothing  left  for  me  to 
give  him. 

God  so  loved  the  world — (O  infinite  love  !  only  worthy 
of  an  infinite  God  !) — God  so  loved  the  world  as  to  give  His 
only-begotten  Son.''  The  Infant  Jesus,  far  from  being  sor 
rowful  at  this  proposal,  is  pleased  at  it,  accepts  it  with 
love,  and  exults  in  it:  He  Jiath  rejoiced  as  a  giant  to  run  the 
way/  and  from  the  first  moment  of  his  incarnation  he 
gives  himself  entirely  to  man,  and  embraces  with  pleas 
ure  all  the  sorrows  and  ignominy  that  he  must  suffer 
on  earth  for  the  love  of  man.  These  were  (says  St.  Ber 
nard)  the  mountains  and  hills  that  Jesus  Christ  had  to 
pass  with  so  many  labors  in  order  to  save  man:  Behold, 
He  cometh  leaping  upon  the  mountains,  skipping  over  the  hills.* 

Here  consider  that  the  divine  Father,  in  sending  his 
Son  to  be  our  Redeemer  and  mediator  between  himself 
and  man,  has  in  a  certain  sense  bound  himself  to  forgive 
us  and  love  us,  on  account  of  the  covenant  he  made 
vo  receive  us  into  his  favor,  providing  his  Son  satis 
fied  for  us  his  divine  justice.  On  the  other  hand,  the 
divine  Word,  having  accepted  the  decree  of  his  Father 
(who,  by  sending  him  to  redeem  us,  has  given  him  to  us), 
has  also  bound  himself  to  love  us;  not,  indeed,  for  our 
own  merits,  but  in  order  to  fulfil  the  merciful  will  of 
his  Father. 

1  "  Parvulus  natus  est  nobis,  et  Filius  datus  est  nobis." — Isa.  ix.  6. 
'2  "  Sic  Deus  dilexit  mundum,  ut  Filium  suum  unigenitum  daret  !" 
—  John,  Hi.  16. 

3  "  Exsultavit  ut  gigas  ad  currendam  viam." — Ps.  Iviii.  6. 

4  "  Ecce  iste  venit  saliens  in  montibus,  transiliens  colles." — Cant. 
ii.  8. 


216  Meditations  for  the  Novena  for  Christmas. 


Affections  and  Prayers. 

My  dearest  Jesus,  if  it  is  true  (as  the  law  says)  that  dominion 
is  acquired  by  gift,  since  Thy  Father  hath  given  Thee  to  me, 
Thou  art  mine;  for  me  Thou  wert  born,  to  me  hast  Thou  been 
given  :  A  child  is  born  to  us,  a  Son  is  given  to  us.1  Therefore  I 
may  well  say,  "  My  Jesus  and  my  all."  2  Since  Thou  art  mine, 
everything  that  belongs  to  Thee  is  also  mine.  Of  this  I  am  as 
sured  by  Thy  Apostle:  How  hath  He  not  also  with  Him  given 
us  all  things?  Thy  blood  is  mine,  Thy  merits  are  mine,  Thy 
grace  is  mine,  Thy  paradise  is  mine;  and  if  Thou  art  mine,  who 
shall  be  able  to  take  Thee  from  me?  "  No  man  can  take  God 
away  from  me,"  4  said  with  joy  the  abbot  St.  Anthony.  So, 
from  this  day  forth,  will  I  also  continually  say.  It  is  only 
through  my  own  fault  that  I  can  lose  Thee  and  separate  myself 
from  Thee ;  but  if  in  past  times  I  have  abandoned  Thee  and 
lost  Thee,  O  my  Jesus,  I  now  repent  of  it  with  all  my  soul,  and 
I  am  resolved  to  lose  my  life  and  everything  sooner  than  lose 
Thee,  O  infinite  Good,  and  only  love  of  my  soul !  I  thank 
Thee,  Eternal  Father,  for  having  given  me  Thy  Son  ;  and  since 
Thou  hast  given  him  entirely  to  me,  I,  miserable  sinner,  give 
myself  entirely  to  Thee.  For  the  sake  of  this  same  Son,  accept 
me,  and  bind  me  with  the  chains  of  love  to  this  my  Redeemer; 
but  bind  me  so  strongly  that  I  also  may  be  able  to  say,  Who 
shall  separate  me  from  the  love  of  Christ?  5  What  good  shall 
there  ever  be  in  the  world  that  shall  separate  me  from  my  Jesus? 
And  Thou,  my  Saviour,  if  Thou  art  all  mine,  know  that  I  am 
all  Thine.  Dispose  of  me,  and  of  all  that  belongs  to  me,  as  shall 
best  please  Thee.  And  how  can  I  refuse  anything  to  a  God 
who  has  not  refused  me  his  blood  and  his  life?  Mary,  my 
Mother,  do  thou  guard  me  with  thy  protection.  I  will  no  long 
er  be  my  own.  I  will  be  all  my  Saviour's.  Do  thou  help  m« 
to  be  faithful ;  I  trust  in  thee. 

1  "  Parvulus  natus  est  nobis,  et  Filius  datus  est  nobis." — Isa.  ix.  6. 

2  "Jesus  meus,  et  omnia." 

3  "  Quomodo  non  etiam  cum  illo  omnia  nobis  donavit?" — Rom. 
viii.  32. 

4  "  Deum  a  me  tollere  nemo  potest." 

6  "  Quis  nos  separabit  a  charitate  Christ!  ?" — Rom.  viii.  35. 


Second  Meditation.  2 17 


MEDITATION  II. 

DECEMBER  17. 

Bitterness  of  the  Heart  of  Jesus  in  the  Womb  of  his 
Mother. 

Hostiam  et  oblationem  noluisti;  corpus  autem  aptasti  mihi. 

"  Sacrifice  and  oblation  Thou  wouldest  not  ;  but  a  body  Thou  hast  fitted 
to  Me."— Heb.  x.  5. 

Consider  the  great  bitterness  with  which  the  heart  of 
the  Infant  Jesus  must  have  felt  itself  afflicted  and  op 
pressed  in  the  womb  of  Mary  at  the  first  moment  when  his 
Father  proposed  to  his  consideration  all  the  series  of 
contempt,  sorrow,  and  agonies  which  he  was  to  suffer 
during  his  life,  to  deliver  men  from  their  miseries:  In 
the  nwrning  He  wakeneth  my  ear,1  and  I  do  not  resist;  I  have 
given  my  body  to  the  strikers?' 

Thus  did  Jesus  speak  by  the  mouth  of  the  prophet: 
///  the  morning  He  wakeneth  my  ear;  that  is  to  say,  from  the 
first  moment  of  my  conception  my  Father  made  me  feel 
that  it  was  his  will  that  I  should  lead  a  life  of  sorrows, 
and  in  the  end  should  be  sacrifice!  on  the  cross:  And  I 
do  not  resist;  I  have  given  my  body  to  the  strikers.  And  all 
this  I  accepted  for  your  salvation,  O  ye  souls  of  men, 
and  from  that  time  forth  I  gave  up  my  body  to  the 
scourges,  to  the  nails,  and  to  the  death  of  the  cross. 

Consider  that  whatever  Jesus  Christ  suffered  in  his 
life  and  in  his  Passion,  was  all  placed  before  him  whilst 
he  was  yet  in  the  womb  of  Mary,  and  he  accepted  every 
thing  that  was  proposed  to  him  with  delight;  but  in  ac 
cepting  all  this,  and  in  overcoming  the  natural  repug 
nance  of  sense,  O  my  God,  what  anguish  and  oppression 
did  not  the  innocent  heart  of  Jesus  suffer  !  Well  did  he 

1  "  Mane  erigit  mihi  aurem.  .  .  ." — Isa.  1.  4. 

*  "  Ego  autem  non  contradico  .  .  .  ;  corpus  meum  dedi  percutien- 
tibus." — Ibid.  6. 


218  Meditations  for  the  Novena  for  Christinas. 

understand  what  he  was  first  of  all  to  endure,  shut  up 
for  nine  months  in  the  dark  prison  of  the  womb  of  Mary; 
in  suffering  the  shame  and  the  sorrows  of  his  birth,  being 
born  in  a  cold  grotto  that  was  a  stable  for  beasts;  in  hav 
ing  afterwards  to  lead  for  thirty  years  an  humble  life  in 
the  shop  of  an  artisan;  in  considering  that  he  was  to  be 
treated  by  men  as  ignorant,  as  a  slave,  as  a  seducer,  and 
as  one  guilty  of  death,  and  of  the  most  infamous  and 
painful  death  that  ever  was  allotted  to  the  most  worth 
less  of  criminals. 

All  this  did  our  dearest  Redeemer  accept  every  mo 
ment;  but  each  moment  that  he  accepted  it  he  suffered 
at  once  all  the  the  pains  and  humiliations  that  he 
would  afterwards  have  to  endure  even  unto  death.  The 
very  knowledge  of  his  divine  dignity  made  him  feel 
still  more  the  injuries  that  he  would  have  to  receive  from 
men:  All  the  day  long  my  shame  is  before  me.1  He  had  con 
tinually  before  his  eyes  his  shame,  especially  that  con 
fusion  which  he  should  one  day  feel  at  seeing  himself 
stripped  naked,  scourged,  and  suspended  by  three  iron 
nails;  and  so  to  end  his  life  in  the  midst  of  the  insults 
and  curses  of  those  very  men  for  whom  he  was  to  die: 
Becoming  obedient  ujito  death,  even  to  the  death  of  the  cross? 
And  for  what?  To  save  us  miserable  and  ungrateful 
sinners. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

My  beloved  Redeemer,  oh,  how  much  did  it  cost  Thee,  even 
from  Thy  first  entrance  into  the  world,  to  raise  me  from  the 
ruin  which  I  have  brought  on  myself  by  my  sins!  Thou  hast 
consented  to  be  treated  as  the  lowest  of  slaves,  in  order  to  de 
liver  me  from  the  slavery  of  the  devil,  to  whom  I  had  willingly 
sold  myself  by  sin  ;  and  yet,  knowing  all  this,  I  have  had  the 
boldness  to  afflict  continually  Thy  most  amiable  heart,  which. 

1  "  Tota  die  verecundia  mea  contra  me  esf." — Ps.  xliii.  16 

2  "  Factus  obediens   usque   ad   mortem,  mortem   autem   crucis." — 
Phil,  ii   S. 


Third  Meditation.  219 

has  loved  me  so  much !  But  since  Thou,  who  art  so  innocent, 
and  art  my  God,  hast  accepted  such  a  painful  life  and  death,  I 
accept  for  Thy  love,  O  my  Jesus,  every  trouble  that  shall  come 
to  me  from  Thy  hands.  1  accept  it  and  embrace  it,  because  it 
comes  from  those  hands  which  were  once  pierced  through,  in 
order  to  deliver  me  from  the  hell  which  I  have  so  often  de 
served.  Thy  love,  O  my  Redeemer !  in  offering  Thyself  to  suf 
fer  so  much  for  me,  does  more  than  oblige  me  to  accept  for  Thy 
sake  every  sorrow,  every  humiliation.  O  my  Lord  !  for  Thy 
own  merit's  sake,  give  me  Thy  holy  love  ;  Thy  love  will  render 
all  sufferings  and  ignominy  sweet  and  pleasant  to  me.  I  love 
Thee  above  everything:  I  love  Thee  with  my  whole  heart;  I 
love  Thee  more  than  myself.  But  during  Thy  whole  life  how 
many  and  what  great  proofs  of  Thy  love  didst  Thou  not  give 
me  ;  and  yet,  ungrateful  that  I  am,  how  many  years  have  I  not 
lived  in  the  world  without  giving  Thee  any  proofs  of  my  love ! 
I  dread  appearing  before  Thee  when  Thou  shalt  come  to  judge 
me,  poor  as  I  now  am,  without  having  done  anything  for  the 
love  of  Thee.  But  what  can  I  do  without  Thy  grace?  I  can 
do  nothing  but  pray  that  Thou  wilt  succor  me  ;  but  even  this 
prayer  comes  simply  from  Thy  grace.  O  my  Jesus !  help  me 
through  the  merits  of  Thy  sufferings,  and  of  the  blood  Thou 
hast  shed  for  me.  Most  holy  Mary,  recommend  me  to  thy  Son, 
for  the  love  that  thou  bearest  him.  Behold,  I  am  one  of  those 
sheep  for  which  thy  Son  has  died. 


MEDITATION  III. 

DECEMBER  18. 

Jesus  made  Himself  a  Child  to  gain  our  Confidence  and  our 

Love. 

Famulus  natus  est  nobis,  et  Filius  datus  est  nobis. 
"  A  child  is  born  to  us,  and  a  son  is  given  to  us." — Isa.  ix.  6. 

Consider  that  after  so  many  centuries,  after  so  many 
prayers  and  sighs,  the  Messias,  whom  the  holy  patri 
archs  and  prophets  were  not  worthy  to  see,  whom  the 
nations  sighed  for,  "  the  Desire  of  the  eternal  hills,"  our 
Saviour,  is  come;  he  is  already  born,  and  has  given  him- 


220  Meditations  for  the  Novena  for  Christmas. 

self  entirely  to  us :  A  child  is  born  to  us,  and  a  son  is  given 
to  us.1 

The  Son  of  God  has  made  himself  little,  in  order  to 
make  us  great;  he  has  given  himself  to  us,  in  order  that 
we  may  give  ourselves  to  him;  he  is  come  to  show  us 
his  love,  in  order  that  we  may  respond  to  it  by  giving 
him  ours.  Let  us,  therefore,  receive  him  with  affection; 
let  us  love  him,  and  have  recourse  to  him  in  all  our  ne 
cessities. 

"A  child  gives  easily,"2  says  St.  Bernard;  children 
readily  give  anything  that  is  asked  of  them.  Jesus  came 
into  the  world  a  child,  in  order  to  show  himself  ready 
and  willing  to  give  us  all  good  gifts:  ///  whom  are  hid  all 
treasures?  The  Father  hath  given  all  things  into  His  hands.'' 
If  we  wish  for  light,  he  is  come  on  purpose  to  enlighten 
us.  If  we  wish  for  strength  to  resist  our  enemies,  he  is 
come  to  give  us  comfort.  If  we  wish  for  pardon  and 
salvation,  he  is  come  to  pardon  and  save  us.  If,  in  short, 
we  desire  the  sovereign  gift  of  divine  love,  he  is  come  to 
inflame  our  hearts  with  it;  and,  above  all,  for  this  very 
purpose,  he  has  become  a  child,  and  has  chosen  to  show 
himself  to  us  worthy  of  our  love,  in  proportion  as  he  was 
poor  and  humble,  in  order  to  takeaway  from  us  all  fear, 
and  to  gain  our  affections.  "So,"  says  St.  Peter  Chrys- 
ologus,  "should  he  come  who  willed  to  drive  away  fear, 
and  seek  for  love."  5 

Jesus  has,  besides,  chosen  to  come  as  a  little  child  to 
make  us  Jove  him,  not  only  with  an  appreciative  but 
even  with  a  tender  love.  All  infants  attract  the  tender 
affection  of  those  who  behold  them;  but  who  will  not 

"  Parvulus  natus  est  nobis,  et  Filius  datus  est  nobis." 
"Puer  facile  donat." — In  Epiph.  s.  i. 
"  In  quo  sunt  omnes  thesauri." — Col.  ii.  3. 
"  Omnia  dedit  in  manu  ejus." — John,  iii.  35. 
"  Taliter  venire  debuit,  qui  voluit  timorem  pellere,  quzerere  chari- 
tatem." — Serm.  158. 


Third  Meditation.  2  2 1 

love,  with  all  the  tenderness  of  which  they  are  capable, 
a  Gcd  whom  they  behold  as  a  little  child,  in  want  of 
milk  to  nourish  him,  trembling  with  cold,  poor,  abased, 
and  forsaken,  weeping  and  crying  in  a  manger,  and  lying 
on  straw  ?  It  was  this  that  made  the  loving  St.  Francis 
exclaim:  "Let  us  love  the  child  of  Bethlehem,  let  us 
love  the  child  of  Bethlehem."  Come  ye  souls,  and  love 
a  God  who  is  become  a  child,  and  poor;  who  is  so  ami 
able,  and  who  has  come  down  from  heaven  to  give  him 
self  entirely  to  you." 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

O  my  amiable  Jesus!  whom  I  have  treated  with  so  much  con 
tempt,  Thou  hast  descended  from  heaven  to  save  us  from  hell, 
and  to  give  Thyself  entirely  to  us;  how  can  we,  then,  have  so 
often  despised  Thee,  and  turned  our  backs  upon  Thee  ?     O  my 
God  !  how  different  is  the  gratitude  of  men  towards  their  fellow- 
creatures  !     If  any  one  makes  them  a  gift,  if  any  one  comes  from 
afar  to  pay  them  a  visit,  if  any  one  shows  them  a  particular  mark 
of  affection,  they  cannot  forget  it,  and  feel  themselves  obliged 
to  repay  their  benefactors.     And  yet  they  are  so  ungrateful 
towards  Thee,  who  art  their  God,  and  so  worthy  of  their  love, 
and  who,  for  their  sake,  didst  not  refuse  to  give  Thy  blood 
and  Thy  love.     But,  alas !   I  have  been  worse  than  others   in 
my  conduct   towards  Thee,  because  I  have  been  more  loved 
by  Thee,  and  more    ungrateful   towards   Thee.     Ah,   if   Thou 
hadst   bestowed    those    graces   with    which    I    have    been    fe 
vered  on  a   heretic,  or  an   idolater,  he  would  have  become  a 
saint;  and  yet  I  have  done  nothing  but  offend  Thee.     O  my 
Saviour    I   pray  Thee,   forget  the   injuries   I   have  committed 
against  Thee.      But  Thou  hast  indeed  said  that  when  a  sinner 
repents,  Thou  rememberest  no  longer  the  injuries  Thou  hast 
received  from  him:  All  his  iniquities  I  will  not  remember.1     If 
in  times  past  I  have  not  loved  Thee,  in  future  I  will  do  nothing 
else  but  love  Thee.     Thou  hast  given  Thyself  entirely  to  me, 
and  I  give  Thee  my  whole  will ;  O   Lord,  I  love  Thee,  I   love 

^'Omnium     iniquitatum     ejus     .  .   .    non     recordabor. "— Ezech. 
xviii.  22. 


222  Meditations  for  the  Novena  for  Christmas. 

Thee,  I  love  Thee  ;  and  I  will  continually  repeat  to  Thee,  I  love 
Thee,  I  Jove  Thee!  While  I  live,  I  will  constantly  say  this ; 
and  when  I  die,  I  will  yield  my  last  breath  with  these  sweet 
words  on  my  lips,  "  My  God,  I  love  Thee ;"  and  from  the  mo 
ment  of  my  entrance  into  eternity,  I  will  begin  to  love  Thee 
with  a  love  that  shall  last  forever,  without  ever  again  ceasing  to 
love  Thee.  And  in  the  mean  time,  O  my  Lord  !  my  only  good 
and  my  only  love,  I  intend  to  prefer  Thy  will  to  every  pleasure  of 
my  own.  Let  the  whole  world  offer  itself  to  me;  I  will  refuse  it ; 
for  I  will  never  cease  to  love  him  that  hath  loved  me  so  much  ; 
I  will  never  again  offend  him  who  deserves  from  me  an  infinite 
love.  Do  Thou,  O  my  Jesus  !  aid  my  desire  with  Thy  grace. 
'  Mary,  my  Queen  !  I  acknowledge  all  the  graces  I  have  re 
ceived  from  God  through  thy  intercession;  cease  not,  then,  to 
intercede  for  me.  Do  thou  obtain  for  me  perseverance,  thou 
who  aft  the  Mother  of  perseverance. 


MEDITATION  IV. 

DECEMBER  19. 
The  Passion  of  Jesus  lasted  during  His  Whole  Life. 

Dolor  meus  in  conspectu  meo  semper. 
"  My  sorrow  is  continually  before  me."—  Ps.  xxvii.  18. 

Consider  that  in  the  first  moment  that  the  soul  of 
Jesus  Christ  was  created  and  united  to  his  little  body  in 
the  womb  of  Mary,  the  Eternal  Father  intimated  to  his 
Son  his  will  that  he  should  die  for  the  redemption  of  the 
world;  and  in  this  same  moment  he  presented  to  his 
view  the  entire  dreadful  scene  of  the  sufferings  he  would 
have  to  endure,  even  unto  death,  in  order  to  redeem 
mankind.  He  brought  before  him  in  that  moment  all 
the  labors,  contempt,  and  poverty  that  he  would  have  to 
suffer  during  his  whole  life,  as  well  in  Bethlehem  as  in 
Egypt  and  in  Nazareth;  and  then  all  the  sufferings  and 
ignominy  of  his  Passion,  the  scourges,  the  thorns,  the 
nails,  and  the  cross;  all  the  weariness,  the  sadness,  the 


Fourth  Meditation.  223 

agonies,  and  the  abandonment  in  which  he  was  to  end 
his  life  upon  Calvary. 

When  Abraham  was  leading  his  son  to  death,  he  would 
not  afflict  him  by  giving  him  notice  of  it  beforehand, 
even  during  the  short  time  that  was  necessary  for  them 
to  arrive  at  the  mount.  But  the  Eternal  Father  chose 
that  his  Incarnate  Son,  whom  he  had  destined  to  be  the 
victim  of  his  justice  in  atonement  of  our  sins,  should 
suffer  then  all  the  pains  to  which  he  was  to  be  subject 
during  his  life  and  at  his  death.  Wherefore,  from  the 
first  moment  that  he  was  in  his  mother's  womb,  Jesus 
suffered  continually  that  sorrow  which  he  endured  in 
the  garden,  and  which  was  sufficient  to  have  taken  away 
his  life  (as  he  said,  My  soul  is  sorrowful  unto  death1).  So 
that  from  that  time  forth  he  felt  most  vividly,  and  en 
dured  the  united  weight  of  all  the  sorrows  and  con 
tumely  that  awaited  him. 

The  whole  life,  then,  of  our  blessed  Redeemer,  and  all 
the  years  that  he  spent,  were  a  life  and  years  of  pains 
and  tears:  My  life  is  wasted  with  grief,  and  My  years  in 
sighs?  His  divine  heart  never  passed  one  moment  free 
from  suffering.  Whether  he  watched  or  slept,  whether 
he  labored  or  rested,  whether  he  prayed  or  spoke,  he 
had  continually  before  his  eyes  that  bitter  representa 
tion  which  tormented  his  holy  soul  more  than  all  their 
sufferings  tormented  the  holy  martyrs.  The  martyrs 
have  suffered;  but,  assisted  by  grace,  they  suffered  with 
joy  and  fervor.  Jesus  Christ  suffered;  but  he  suffered 
with  a  heart  full  of  weariness  and  sorrow;  and  he  ac 
cepted  all  for  the  love  of  us. 

1  "  Tristis  est  anima  mea  usque  ad  mortem." — Matt.  xxvi.  38. 

*  "  Defecit  in   dolore  vita  mea,  et  anni  mei  in  gemitibus." — JPs. 

XXX.    II. 


224  Meditations  for  the  Novena  for  Christmas. 


Affections  and  Prayers. 

O  sweet,  O  amiable,  O  loving  Heart  of  Jesus !  even  from  Thy 
infancy  Thou  wert  full  of  bitterness,  and  Thou  didst  suffer  ago 
nies  in  the  womb  of  Mary  without  consolation,  and  without 
having  any  one  to  look  upon  Thee  and  to  console  Thee  by 
their  sympathy.  All  this  Thou  didst  suffer,  O  my  Jesus !  in 
order  to  satisfy  for  the  eternal  sorrow  and  agony  which  I  de 
served  to  endure  in  hell  for  my  sins.  Thou  didst  then  suffer, 
deprived  of  all  relief,  to  save  me,  who  have  had  the  boldness  to 
forsake  God,  and  to  turn  my  back  upon  him,  in  order  to  satisfy 
my  miserable  inclinations.  I  thank  Thee,  O  afflicted  and  lov 
ing  Heart  of  my  Lord!  I  thank  Thee,  and  I  sympathize  with 
Thee,  especially  when  I  see  that  whilst  Thou  dost  suffer  so 
much  for  the  love  of  man,  these  very  men  do  not  even  pity 
Thee.  O  love  of  God,  O  ingratitude  of  man !  O  men,  O  men, 
behold  this  little  innocent  lamb  who  is  in  agony  for  you,  to 
satisfy  the  divine  justice  for  the  injuries  you  have  committed 
against  him.  See  how  he  prays  and  intercedes  for  you  with 
his  eternal  Father;  behold  him  and  love  him.  O  my  Redeem 
er!  how  few  are  those  who  think  of  your  sorrows  and  your 
love  !  O  God,  how  few  are  those  that  love  Thee  !  But  unhap 
py  me,  for  I  also  have  lived  so  many  years  in  forgetfulness  of 
Thee!  Thou  hast  suffered  so  much  in  order  to  be  loved  by 
me,  and  I  have  not  loved  Thee.  Forgive  me,  my  Jesus,  forgive 
me,  for  I  will  amend  my  life  and  love  Thee.  Ah,  wretched  me, 
O  Lord,  if  I  still  resist  Thy  grace,  and  in  resisting  it  damn 
myself!  All  the  mercies  that  Thou  hast  shown  me,  and,  above 
all,  Thy  sweet  voice,  which  now  calls  me  to  love  Thee,  would 
be  my  greatest  punishment  in  hell.  My  beloved  Jesus,  have 
pity  on  me,  let  me  not  live  any  longer  ungrateful  to  Thy  love ; 
give  me  light,  give  me  strength  to  conquer  everything,  in  order 
to  accomplish  Thy  will.  Grant  my  prayer,  I  beseech  Thee,  for 
the  merits  of  Thy  Passion.  In  this  is  all  my  confidence,  and  in 
thy  intercession,  O  Mary  !  My  dearest  Mother,  help  me  ;  it  is 
thou  who  hast  obtained  for  me  all  the  favors  I  have  received 
from  God :  I  bless  thee  for  them  ;  but  if  thou  dost  not  perse 
vere  in  helping  me,  I  shall  persevere  in  being  faithless,  as  I 
have  been  in  times  past. 


'Fifth  Meditation.  225 

MEDITATION  V. 

DECEMBER  20. 
Jesus  Offered  Himself  for  our  Salvation  from  the  Beginning. 

Oblatus  est,  quia  ipse  voluit. 
"He  was  offered  because  it  was  His  own  will."— Isa.  liii.  7. 

The  divine  Word,  from  the  first  instant  that  he  was 
made  man  and  an  infant  in  Mary's  womb,  offered  him 
self  of  his  own  accord  to  suffer  and  to  die  for  the  ran 
som  of  the  world  :  He  was  offered  because  it  was  His  own 
will.1  He  knew  that  all  the  sacrifices  of  goats  and  bulls 
offered  to  God  in  times  past  had  not  been  able  to  sat 
isfy  for  the  sins  of  men,  but  that  it  required  a  divine 
Person  to  pay  the  price  of  their  redemption  ;  wherefore 
he  said,  as  the  Apostle  tells  us,  When  He  cometh  into  the 
world  He  saith  :  Sacrifice  and  oblation  Thou  woudst  not,  but 
a  body  Thou  hast  fitted  to  me.  .  .  .  Then  said  /,  Behold, 
I  come?  "My  Father,"  said  Jesus,  "all  the  victims  hith 
erto  offered  to  Thee  have  not  sufficed,  nor  could  they 
suffice,  to  satisfy  Thy  justice  ;  Thou  hast  given  me  this 
passible  body,  in  order  that  by  shedding  my  blood  I 
might  appease  Thee  and  save  men  :  '  Behold,  I  come  ; ' 
here  I  am  ready,  I  accept  everything,  and  I  submit  my 
self  in  everything  to  Thy  will." 

The  inferior  part  felt  repugnance,  for  it  naturally  was 
averse  to  this  life  and  death,  so  full  of  sufferings  and 
shame  ;  but  the  rational  part,  which  was  entirely  sub 
ordinate  to  the  will  of  his  Father,  conquered  and  ac 
cepted  everything  ;  and  Jesus  began  from  that  moment 
to  suffer  all  the  anguish  and  sorrows  that  he  would  have 
to  suffer  during  all  the  years  of  his  life.  Thus  did  our 

1  "  Oblatus  est  quia  ipse  voluit." 

2  "  Ideo  ingrediens  mundum  dicit :  Hostiam  et  oblationem  noluis- 
ti ;    corpus  autem  aptasti  mihi.  ,  .  .  Tu"C  dixi :  Ecce  venio." — Heb. 
x.  5. 

15 


226  Meditations  for  the  Novena  for  Christmas. 

Redeemer  act  from   the   very  first  moment  of  his   en 
trance  into  the  world. 

But,  O  God  !  how  have  we  conducted  ourselves  tow 
ards  Jesus  since  we  began,  as  adults,  to  know  by  the 
light  of  faith  the  sacred  Mysteries  of  Redemption  ? 
What  thoughts,  what  designs,  what  goods  have  we 
loved  !  Pleasures,  amusements,  vengeance,  sensuality  ; 
these  are  the  goods  that  have  engrossed  the  affections 
of  our  hearts.  But  if  we  have  faith,  we  must  at  last 
change  our  life  and  our  affections.  Let  us  love  a  God 
who  has  suffered  so  much  for  us.  Let  us  represent  to 
ourselves  the  sufferings  which  the  heart  of  Jesus  en 
dured  for  us,  even  from  his  infancy  ;  for  then  we  shall 
not  be  able  to  love  anything  else  but  that  heart  which 
hath  loved  us  so  much. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

My  Lord,  wilt  Thou  know  how  I  have  behaved  towards  Thee 
during  all  my  life?  Ever  since  I  began  to  have  the  use  of 
reason,  I  began  to  despise  Thy  grace  and  Thy  love.  But  Thou 
knowest  it  much  better  than  I  do;  nevertheless,  Thou  hast 
borne  with  me,  because  Thou  still  carest  for  my  welfare.  I 
fled  from  Thee,  and  Thou  didst  follow  after  and  call  me.  The 
very  same  love  that  made  Thee  come  down  from  heaven  to 
seek  the  lost  sheep  has  made  Thee  bear  with  me  and  not 
forsake  me.  My  Jesus,  Thou  now  seekest  me,  and  I  seek  Thee. 
I  feel  that  Thy  grace  is  assisting  me :  it  assists  me  with  the 
sorrow  I  feel  for  my  sins,  which  I  abhor  above  every  other 
evil;  it  assists  me  by  making  me  feel  a  great  desire  to  love 
Thee  and  to  please  Thee.  Yea,  Lord,  I  will  love  Thee  and 
please  Thee  as  much  as  I  can.  On  one  side  I  feel  afraid,  it  is 
true,  at  the  thought  of  my  frailty  and  the  weakness  which  I 
have  contracted  by  my  sins  ;  but  Thy  grace  gives  me  a  greater 
confidence,  and  causes  me  to  hope  in  Thy  merits;  so  that  I 
can  say,  from  the  bottom  of  my  heart:  /  can  do  all  things  in 
Him  who  strengtheneth  me.1  If  I  am  weak,  Thou  wilt  give  me 
strength  against  my  enemies ;  if  I  am  infirm,  I  hope  that  Thy 

1  "  Omnia  possum  in  eo  qui  me  confortat." — Phil.  iv.  13. 


Sixth  Meditation.  227 

blood  will  be  my  medicine  ;  if  I  am  a  sinner,  I  hope  Thou  wilt 
make  me  a  saint.  I  acknowledge  that  I  have  hitherto  co 
operated  to  my  own  ruin,  because  I  have  neglected,  on  danger 
ous  occasions,  to  have  recourse  to  Thee.  But  from  this  day 
forth,  my  Jesus  and  my  hope,  I  will  always  have  recourse  to 
Thee ;  and  from  Thee  I  hope  for  every  assistance  and  every 
good.  I  love  Thee  above  all  things,  and  I  will  always  love 
Thee  alone.  Have  pity  on  me,  and  help  me  through  the 
merits  of  all  those  sufferings  which  from  Thy  infancy  Thou  hast 
endured  for  me.  Eternal  Father,  for  the  sake  of  Jesus  Christ 
accept  of  my  love.  If  I  have  offended  Thee,  let  the  tears  of 
the  Infant  Jesus,  who  is  praying  for  me,  appease  Thy  wrath : 
"  Look  on  the  face  of  Thy  Christ."  *  I  do  not  deserve  favors, 
but  this  Thy  guiltless  Son  deserves  them,  who  offers  Thee  a 
life  of  sufferings,  in  order  that  Thou  mayest  be  merciful  to  me. 
And  thou,  O  Mary,  Mother  of  mercy,  cease  not  to  intercede 
for  me.  Thou  knowest  how  much  I  confide  in  thee  ;  and  I 
know  well  that  thou  dost  not  forsake  him  that  has  recourse  to 
th 

MEDITATION  VI. 

DECEMBER  21. 
Jesus  a  Prisoner  in  the  Womb  of  Mary. 

Factus  sum  sicut  homo  sine  adjutorio,  inter  mortuos  liber. 
"  I  am  become  as  a  man  without  help,  free  among  the  dead." — Ps.  Ixxxvii.  5,  6. 

Consider  the  painful  life  that  Jesus  Christ  led  in  the 
womb  of  his  Mother,  and  the  long-confined  and  dark 
imprisonment  that  he  suffered  there  for  nine  months. 
Other  infants  are  indeed  in  the  same  state  ;  but  they 
do  not  fee)  Jie  miseries  of  it,  because  they  do  not  know 
them.  But  Jesus  knew  them  well,  because  from  the 
first  moment  of  his  life  he  had  the  perfect  use  of  reason. 
He  had  his  senses,  but  he  could  not  use  them  ;  eyes,  but 
he  could  not  see  ;  a  tongue,  but  he  could  not  speak  ; 
hands,  but  he  could  not  stretch  them  out  ;  feet,  but  he 
could  not  walk  ; — so  that  for  nine  months  he  had  to  re- 

1  "  Respice  in  faciem  Christi  tui." — Ps.  Ixxxiii.  10. 


228  Meditations  for  the  Novena  for  Christmas. 

main  in  the  womb  of  Mary  like  a  dead  man  shut  up  in 
the  tomb  :  /  am  become  as  a  man  without  help,  free  among 
the  dead.1  He  was  free,  because  he  had  of  his  own  free 
will  made  himself  a  prisoner  of  love  in  this  prison  ;  but 
love  deprived  him  of  liberty,  and  bound  him  there  so 
fast  in  chains  that  he  could  not  move  :  "  Free  among 
the  dead  !  oh,  great  patience  of  our  Saviour!"  *  says  St. 
Ambrose,  while  he  considered  the  sufferings  of  Jesus  in 
the  womb  of  Mary. 

The  womb  of  Mary  was,  therefore,  to  our  Redeemer  a 
voluntary  prison,  because  it  was  a  prison  of  love.  But 
it  was  also  not  an  unjust  prison  :  he  was  indeed  inno 
cent  himself,  but  he  had  offered  himself  to  pay  our 
debts  and  to  satisfy  for  our  crimes.  It  was  therefore 
only  reasonable  for  the  divine  justice  to  keep  him  thus 
imprisoned,  and  so  begin  to  exact  from  him  the  due 
satisfaction. 

Behold  the  state  to  which  the  Son  of  God  reduces 
himself  for  the  love  of  men  !  he  deprives  himself  of  his 
liberty  and  puts  himself  in  chains,  to  deliver  us  from  the 
chains  of  hell.  What  gratitude  and  love  should  we  not 
show  in  return  for  the  love  and  goodness  of  our  deliver 
er  and  our  surety,  who,  not  by  compulsion  but  only  out 
of  love,  offered  himself  to  pay,  and  has  paid  for  us,  our 
debts  and  our  penalties  by  giving  up  his  divine  life  ! 
Forget  not  the  kindness  of  thy  surety;  for  He  hath  given  His 
life  for  thee? 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

Forget  not  the  kindness  of  thy  surety.*  Yes,  my  Jesus,  the  pro 
phet  has  reason  to  warn  me  not  to  forget  the  immense  favor  which 
Thou  hast  shown  me.  I  was  the  debtor,  I  the  criminal,  and 

1  "Sicuthomo  sine  adjutorio,  inter  mortuos  liber." 

2  "  O  grandis  patientia  Salvatoris  !" 

"  Gratiam  fidejussoris  ne    obliviscaris  ;    dedit  enim  pro  te   ani- 
mam  suam." — Ecclns.  xxix.  19, 
4  "  Gratiam  fidejussoris  ne  obliviscaris." 


Seventh  Meditation.  229 

Thou  the  innocent  one  ;  Thou,  O  my  God  !  hast  chosen  to  satisfy 
for  my  sins  by  Thy  sufferings  and  Thy  death.  But  after  all  this 
kindness  I  have  forgotten  Thy  favors  and  Thy  love,  and  I  have 
had  the  boldness  to  turn  my  back  upon  Thee,  as  if  Thou  hadst 
not  been  my  Lord,  and  that  Lord  who  has  loved  me  so  much. 
uut  if  in  times  past  I  have  forgotten  Thy  mercies,  O  my  dear  Re 
deemer  !  I  will  in  future  never  forget  them  again.  Thy  sufferings 
and  Thy  death  shall  be  the  constant  subjects  of  my  thoughts, 
because  they  will  always  recall  to  my  mind  the  love  that  Thou 
hast  borne  me.  Cursed  be  the  days  in  which,  forgetting  what 
Thou  hast  suffered  for  me,  I  have  made  so  bad  a  use  of  my 
liberty.  Thou  hast  given  it  to  me  to  love  Thee,  and  I  have  used 
it  to  despise  Thee.  But  I  now  consecrate  entirely  to  Thee  this 
liberty  which  Thou  hast  given  me.  I  beseech  Thee,  my  Saviour, 
deliver  me  from  the  misery  of  seeing  myself  again  separated 
from  Thee,  and  again  made  the  slave  of  Lucifer.  I  implore  Thee 
to  bind  my  poor  soul  to  Thy  feet  by  Thy  holy  love,  so  that  it 
may  never  again  be  separated  from  Thee.  Eternal  Father,  by 
the  imprisonment  of  the  infant  Jesus  in  the  womb  of  Mary,  de 
liver  me  from  the  chains  of  sin  and  of  hell.  And  thou,  O  Mother 
of  God,  help  me  !  Thou  hast  in  thy  womb  the  Son  of  God  im 
prisoned  and  confined ;  as,  therefore,  Jesus  is  thy  prisoner,  he 
will  do  everything  that  thou  tellest  him.  Tell  him  to  pardon 
me;  tell  him  to  make  me  holy.  Help  me,  my  Mother,  for  the 
sake  of  the  favor  and  honor  that  Jesus  Christ  conferred  upon 
thee  by  dwelling  within  thee  for  nine  months. 


MEDITATION  VII. 

DECEMBER  22. 
The  Sorrow  that  the  Ingratitude  of  Men  has  caused  Jesus. 

In propria  venit^  et  sui  eum  non  receperunt. 
"  He  came  unto  His  own,  and  His  own  received  Him  not." — St.  John,  i.  u. 

In  these  days  of  the  holy  Nativity  St.  Francis  of 
Assisi  went  about  the  highways  and  woods  with  sighs 
and  tears  and  inconsolable  lamentations.  When  asked 
the  reason,  he  answered  :  How  should  I  not  weep  when 
I  see  that  love  is  not  loved  !  I  see  a  God  become,  as  it 


230  Meditations  for  the  Novena  for  Christmas. 

were  foolish,  for  the  love  of  man,  and  man  so  ungrateful 
to  this  God  !  Now,  if  this  ingratitude  of  man  caused  so 
great  a  sorrow  to  the  heart  of  St.  Francis,  let  us  con 
sider  how  much  more  it  must  have  afflicted  the  heart  of 
Jesus  Christ. 

He  was  hardly  conceived  in  the  womb  of  Mary  when 
he  saw  the  cruel  return  he  was  to  receive  from  man. 
He  had  descended  from  heaven  to  enkindle  the  fire  of 
divine  love,  and  this  desire  alone  had  brought  him  down 
to  this  earth,  to  suffer  there  an  abyss  of  sorrows  and 
ignominies  :  /  am  come  to  cast  fire  on  the  earth  ;  and  what 
will  I  but  that  it  be  kindled?  '  And  then  he  beheld  an  abyss 
of  sins  which  men  would  commit  after  having  seen  so 
many  proofs  of  his  love.  It  was  this,  says  St.  Bernardine 
of  Sienna,  which  made  him  feel  an  infinite  sorrow:  "And 
therefore  he  sorrowed  infinitely."  2 

Even  among  us  it  is  an  insufferable  sorrow  for  one 
man  to  see  himself  treated  with  ingratitude  by  another; 
for  the  blessed  Simon  of  Cassia  observes  that  ingrati 
tude  often  afflicts  the  soul  more  than  any  pain  afflicts  the 
body  :  "Ingratitude  often  causes  more  bitter  sorrow  in 
the  soul  than  pain  causes  in  the  bod)'."  3  What  sorrow, 
then,  must  our  ingratitude  have  caused  to  Jesus,  who 
was  our  God,  when  he  saw  that  his  benefits  and  his  love 
would  be  repaid  him  by  offences  and  injuries  !  And  they 
repaid  Me  evil  for  good,  and  hatred  for  My  love.*  But  even 
at  the  present  day  it  seems  as  if  Jesus  Christ  was  going 
about  complaining:  /  am  become  a  stranger  to  My  brethren." 
For  he  sees  that  many  neither  love  nor  know  him,  as  if 

"  Ignem  veni  mittere  in  terram,  et  quid  volo,  nisi  ut  accendatur  ?" 
Luke,  xii.  49. 

2  "  Et  ideo  infinite  dolebat." 

»  "  Tristitiam  acriorem  saepe  in  anima  fecit  ingratitude,  quam  dolor 
inflictus  in  corpore." 

"  Et  posuerunt   adversum    me    mala   pro   bonis,    et   odium   pro 
dilectione  meal" — Ps,  cviii.  5. 
5  "  Extraneus  factus  sum  fratribus  meis."— Ps.  Ixviii.  9. 


Seventh  Meditation.  231 

he  had  not  done  them  any  good,  nor  had  suffered  any 
thing  for  love  of  them.  O  God,  what  value  do  the  ma 
jority  of  Christians  even  now  set  upon  the  love  of  Jesus 
Christ  ?  Our  blessed  Redeemer  once  appeared  to  the 
blessed  Henry  Suso  in  the  form  of  a  pilgrim  who  went 
begging  from  door  to  door  for  a  lodging,  but  every  one 
drove  him  away  with  insults  and  injuries.  How  many, 
alas!  are  like  those  of  whom  Job  speaks:  Who  said  to  God, 
Depart  from  us.  Whereas  he  had  filled  their  houses  with 
good  things. 1 

We  have  hitherto  united  ourselves  to  these  ungrateful 
wretches;  but  shall  we  always  be  like  them?  No;  for 
that  loving  Infant  does  not  deserve  it,  who  came  from 
heaven  to  suffer  and  die  for  us,  in  order  that  we  might 
love  him. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

Is  it,  then,  true,  O  my  Jesus,  that  Thou  didst  descend  from 
heaven  to  make  me  love  Thee ;  didst  come  down  to  embrace  a 
life  of  suffering  and  the  death  of  the  cross  for  my  sake,  in  order 
that  I  might  welcome  Thee  into  my  heart,  and  yet  I  have  so 
often  driven  Thee  from  me,  and  said,  "  Depart  from  me,  Lord  ;2go 
away  from  me,  Lord  ;  for  I  do  not  want  Thee  ?"  O  God,  if  Thou 
wert  not  infinite  goodness,  and  hadst  not  given  Thy  life  to  ob 
tain  my  pardon,  I  should  not  have  courage  to  ask  it  of  Thee; 
but  I  feel  that  Thou  Thyself  dost  offer  me  peace:  Turn  ye 
to  me,  saith  the  Lord,  and  I  will  turn  to  you?  Thou  Thyself, 
whom  I  have  offended,  O  my  Jesus,  hast  made  Thyself  my 
intercessor:  He  is  the  propitiation  for  our  sins.*  I  will  there 
fore  not  do  Thee  this  fresh  injury  of  distrusting  Thy  mercy. 
I  repent  with  all  my  soul  of  having  despised  Thee,  O  sovereign 
Good  !  receive  me  into  Thy  favor  for  the  sake  of  the  blood 
which  Thou  hast  shed  for  me :  Father,  I  am  not  worthy  to  be 

1  "  Qui   dicebant  Deo:    Recede   a   nobis;  .  .  .  cum  ille    implesset 
domos  eorum  bonis!" — Job,  xxii.  17. 

2  "  Recede  a  me,  Domine." 

3  "  Convertimini  ad  me,   .  .   .  et  convertar  ad  vos." — Zach.  i.  3. 

4  "  Ipse  est  propititatio  pro  peccatis  nostris." — I  John,  ii.  2. 


232   Meditations  for  the  Novena  for  Christmas. 

called  Thy  Son?  No,  my  Redeemer  and  my  Father,  I  am  no 
longer  worthy  to  be  Thy  son,  having  so  often  renounced  Thy 
love ;  but  Thou  dost  make  me  worthy  of  Thy  merits.  I  thank 
Thee,  O  my  Father!  I  thank  Thee  and  I  love  Thee.  Ah, 
the  thought  alone  of  the  patience  with  which  Thou  hast 
borne  with  me  for  so  many  years,  and  of  the  favors  Thou  hast 
conferred  upon  me  after  so  many  injuries  that  I  have  done 
Thee,  ought  to  make  me  live  constantly  on  fire  with  Thy  love. 
Come,  then,  my  Jesus,  for  I  will  not  drive  Thee  away  any 
more,  come  and  dwell  in  my  poor  heart.  I  love  Thee,  and 
will  always  love  Thee ;  but  do  Thou  inflame  my  heart  every  day 
more  and  more  by  the  remembrance  of  the  love  Thou  hast 
borne  me.  O  Mary,  my  Queen  and  Mother,  help  me,  pray  to 
Jesus  for  me ;  make  me  during  the  days  that  are  left  me  in 
this  world  live  grateful  to  that  God  who  has  loved  me  ro 
much,  even  after  I  have  so  greatly  offended  him. 

MEDITATION  VIII. 

DECEMBER  23. 
The  Love  of  God  manifested  to  Men  by  the  Birth  of  Jesus. 

Apparuit  gratia  Dei  Salvatoris  nostri  omnibus  hominibus,  erudiens  nos,  ut 

pie  vivamus  in  hoc  sceculo,  expectantes  beatawi  spent  et  adventum  gloricz  magni 
Dei  et  Salvatoris  nostrijesti  Christ i. 

"  The  grace  of  God  our  Saviour  hath  appeared  to  all  men,  instructing  us  that 

we  should    live   .    .    .    godly  in    this  world,  looking  for    the  blessed  hope 

and  coming  of  the  glory  of  the  great  God  and  our  Saviour  Jesus  Christ." 

Titus i  ii.  IT. 

Consider  that  by  the  grace  that  is  said  here  to  have 
appeared  is  meant  the  tender  love  of  Jesus  Christ  towards 
men, — a  love  that  we  have  not  merited,  which  therefore 
is  called  "  grace." 

This  love  was,  however,  always  the  same  in  God,  but 
did  not  always  appear.  It  was  at  first  promised  in  many 
prophecies, and  foreshadowed  by  many  figures;  but  at. the 
birth  of  the  Redeemer  this  divine  love  indeed  appeared, 
and  manifested  itself  by  the  Eternal  Word  showing  him- 

1  "  Pater,  .  .  .  jam  non  sum  dignus  vocari  filius  tuus." — Luke, 
xv.  21. 


Eighth  Meditation.  233 

self  to  man  as  an  infant,  lying  on  straw,  crying  and  shiver 
ing  with  cold;  beginning  thus  to  make  satisfaction  for  us 
for  the  penalties  we  have  deserved,  and  so  making  known 
to  us  the  affection  which  he  bore  us,  by  giving  up  his  life 
for  us:  In  this  we  have  known  the  charity  of  God,  because  he 
hath  laid  down  his  life  for  us.1  Therefore  the  love  of  our 
God  appeared  to  all  men.2 

But  why  is  it,  then,  that  all  men  -have  not  known  it, 
and  that 'even  at  this  day  so  many  are  ignorant  of  it? 
This  is  the  reason:  The  light  is  come  into  the  world,  and  men 
loved  darkness  rather  than  the  light."  They  have  not  known 
him,  and  they  do  not  know  him,  because  they  do  not 
wish  to  know  him,  loving  rather  the  darkness  of  sin  than 
the  light  of  grace. 

But  let  us  endeavor  not  to  be  of  the  number  of  these 
unhappy  souls.  If  in  past  times  we  have  shut  our  eyes 
to  the  fight,  tbinking  little  of  the  love  of  Jesus  Christ, 
let  us  try,  during  the  days  that  may  remain  to  us  in  this 
life,  to  have  ever  before  our  eyes  the  sufferings  and  death 
of  our  Redeemer,  in  order  to  love  him  who  hath  loved 
us  so  much:  Looking  for  the  blessed  hope  and  corning  of  the 
glory  of  the  great  God  and  our  Saviour  Jesus  Christ.*  Thus 
may  we  justly  expect,  according  to  the  divine  promises, 
that  paradise  which  Jesus  Christ  has  acquired  for  us  by 
his  blood.  At  his  first  coming  Jesus  appeared  as  an  in 
fant,  poor  and  humble,  and  showed  himself  on  earth 
born  in  a  stable,  covered  with  miserable  rags,  and  lying 
on  straw;  but  at  his  second  coming  he  will  come  on  a 
throne  of  majesty:  We  shall  see  the  Son  of  Man  coming  in 

1  "  In  hoc  cognovimus  charitatem  Dei,  quoniam  ille  animam  suam 
pro  nobis  posuit." — i  John,  iii.  16. 

2  "Omnibus  hominibus." 

3  "  Lux  venit  in   mundum,  et  dilexerunt  homines  magis  tenebras 
quam  lucem." — John,  iii.  19. 

4  "  Expectantes   beatam    spem    et  adventum  gloriae   magni   Dei  et 
Salvatoris  nostri  Jesu  Christi." 


234  Meditations  for  the  Novena  for  Christmas. 

the  clouds  with  great  power  and  majesty?  Blessed  then  will 
he  be  who  shall  have  loved  him,  and  miserable  those  who 
have  not  loved  him. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

0  my   holy  Infant!  now  I  see  Thee  lying  on   straw,  poor 
afflicted,  and  forsaken  ;  but  I  know  that  one  day  Thou  wilt  come 
to  judge  me,  seated  on  a  throne  of  splendor,  and  attended  by 
the  angels.     Forgive   me,  I   implore  Thee,  before  Thou  dost 
judge  me.     Then  Thou  wilt  have  to  conduct  Thyself  as  a  just 
judge;  but  now  Thou  art   my  Redeemer,  and   the   Father  of 
mercy.     I  have  been  one  of  those  ungrateful  ones  who  have 
not  known  Thee,  because  I  did  not   choose  to  know  Thee  and 
therefore,  instead  of  being  inclined  to  love  Thee  by  the 'con 
sideration  of  the  love  Thou  hast  borne  me,  I  have  only  thought 
of  satisfying  my  own  desires,  despising  Thy  grace  and  Thy  love. 
But  into  Thy  sacred  hands  I  commend  my  soul,  which  I  have 
lost;  do  Thou  save  it:  Into   Thy  hands  I  commend  my  spirit  • 
Thou  hast  redeemed  me,  O  Lord,  the  God  of  trttth?     In  Thee  do 
I  place  all  my  hopes,  knowing  that,  to  ransom  me  from  hell 
Thou  hast  given  Thy  blood  and  Thy  life  :   Thou  hast  redeemed 
me,  O  Lord,  the  God  of  truth?     Thou  didst  not  condemn  me 
to  death  when  I  was  living  in  sin,  but  hast  waited  for  me  with 
infinite  patience,  in  order  that,  having  come  to  myself,  I  might 
repent  of  having  offended  Thee,  and  might  begin  to  love  Thee 
and  that  thus  Thou  mightest  be  able  to  forgive  and  save  me' 
Yes,,  my  Jesus,  I  will  please  Thee.     I  repent,  above  every  other 
evil,  of  all  the  offences  I  have  committed  against  Thee-  I  re 
pent,  and  love  Thee  above  all  things.     Do  Thou  save 'me  in 
Thy  mercy,  and  let  it  be  my  salvation  to  love  Thee  always  in 
this  life  and  in  eternity.     My  dearest  Mother  Mary,  recommend 
me  to  thy  Son.      Do  thou  represent  to  him  that  I  am  thy  ser 
vant,  and  that  I  have  placed  all  my  hope  in  thee.     He  hears 
thee,  and  refuses  thee  nothing. 

"  Videbunt  Filium  hominis  venientem  in  nubibus  coeli,  cum  virtute 
magna  et  majestate." — Matt.  xxiv.  30. 

"In     manus    tuas     commando  spiritum   meum  ;  redemisti    me 
Domine,  Deus  veritatis." — Ps.  xxx.  6. 
3  "Redemisti  me,  Domine." 


Ninth  Meditation.  235 


MEDITATION  IX. 

DECEMBER  24. 
Saint  Joseph  goes  to  Bethlehem  with   His  Holy  Spouse. 

Ascendit  autem  et  Joseph  .  .  .,  ut  profiteretur  cum  Maria  desponsata  sibi  uxore 
prcegnante. 

"  And  Joseph  also  went  up  ...  to  be  enrolled  with  Mary  his  espoused  wife,  who 
was  with  child." — St.  Luke,  ii.  4. 

God  had  decreed  that  his  Son  should  be  born  not  in 
the  house  of  Joseph,  but  in  a  cavern  and  stable  of  beasts, 
in  the  poorest  and  most  painful  way  that  a  child  can  be 
born;  and  therefore  he  caused  Caesar  to  publish  an  edict, 
by  which  people  were  commanded  to  go  and  enroll  them 
selves,  every  one  in  his  own  city  whence  he  drew  his 
origin. 

When  Joseph  heard  this  order,  he  was  much  agitated 
as  to  whether  he  should  take  with  him  or  leave  behind 
the  Virgin  Mother,  as  she  was  now  so  near  childbirth. 
My  spouse  and  my  lady,  said  he  to  her,  on  the  one  hand, 
I  do  not  wish  to  leave  you  alone;  on  the  other,  if  I  take 
you  with  me,  I  am  much  afflicted  at  the  thought  of  all 
that  you  will  have  to  suffer  during  this  long  journey, 
and  in  such  severe  weather.  My  poverty  will  not  per 
mit  me  to  conduct  you  with  that  comfort  which  you  re 
quire.  But  Mary  answers  him,  and  tries  to  give  him 
courage  with  these  words:  My  Joseph,  do  not  fear.  I 
will  go  with  you;  the  Lord  will  assist  us.  She  knew, 
both  by  divine  inspiration,  and  also  because  she  was  well 
versed  in  the  prophecy  of  Micheas,  that  the  divine  Infant 
was  to  be  born  in  Bethlehem.  She  therefore  takes  the 
swaddling-clothes,  and  the  other  miserable  garments  al 
ready  prepared,  and  departs  with  Joseph.  And  Joseph 
alss  went  up  .  .  .  to  be  enrolled  with  Mary.1 

Let  us  now  consider  all  the  devout  ond  holy  discourses 

1  "  Ascendit  autem  et  Joseph  .  .  .,  ut  profiteretur  cum  Maria." 


236  Meditations  for  the  Novena  for  Christmas. 

which  these  two  holy  spouses  must  have  held  together 
during  this  journey  concerning  the  mercy,  goodness,  and 
love  of  the  divine  Word,  who  was  shortly  to  be  born,  and 
to  appear  on  the  earth  for  the  salvation  of  men.  Let  us 
also  consider  the  praises,  the  benedictions,  the  thanks 
givings,  the  acts  of  humility  and  love,  which  these  two 
illustrious  pilgrims  uttered  on  the  way.  This  holy 
Virgin,  so  soon  to  become  a  mother,  certainly  suffered 
much  in  so  longa  journey,  made  in  the  middle  of  winter, 
and  over  rough  roads;  but  she  suffered  with  peace  and 
with  love.  She  offered  to  God  all  these  her  trials,  unit 
ing  them  to  those  of  Jesus,  whom  she  carried  in  her 
womb. 

Oh,  let  us  unite  ourselves  also,  and  let  us  accompany 
Mary  and  Joseph  in  the  journey  of  our  life;  and,  with 
them,  let  us  accompany  the  King  of  Heaven,  who  is 
born  in  a  cave,  and  makes  his  first  appearance  in  the 
world  as  an  infant,  but  as  the  poorest  and  most  forsaken 
infant  that  ever  was  born  amongst  men.  And  let  us  be 
seech  Jesus,  Mary,  and  Joseph  that,  through  the  merits 
of  the  pains  which  they  suffered  in  this  journey,  they 
would  accompany  us  in  the  journey  that  we  are  making 
to  eternity.  Oh,  blessed  shall  we  be  if,  in  life  and  in 
death,  we  keep  company  with  these  three  great  person 
ages,  and  are  always  accompanied  by  them  ! 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

My  beloved  Redeemer,  I  know  that  in  this  journey  Thou 
wast  accompanied  by  hosts  of  angels  from  heaven;  but  on  this 
earth  who  was  there  that  bore  Thee  company?  Thou  hadst 
but  Joseph  and  Mary  who  carried  Thee  with  her.  Refuse  not, 
O  my  Jesus  !  that  I  also  accompany  Thee.  Miserable  ungrate 
ful  sinner  that  I  have  been,  I  now  see  the  injuries  I  have  done 
Thee  ;  Thou  didst  come  down  from  heaven  to  make  Thyself  my 
companion  on  earth,  and  I  by  my  frequent  offences  have  un 
gratefully  abandoned  Thee !  When  I  remember,  O  my  Saviour ! 
that  for  the  sake  of  my  own  cursed  inclinations  I  have  often 


Ninth  Meditation.  237 

separated  myself  from  Thee  and  renounced  Thy  friendship,  1 
could  wish  to  die  of  sorrow.  But  Thou  didst  come  into  the 
world  to  forgive  me  ;  therefore  forgive  me  now,  I  beseech  Thee, 
for  I  repent  with  all  my  soul  of  having  so  often  turned  my  back 
upon  Thee  and  forsaken  Thee.  I  purpose  and  hope,  through 
Thy  grace,  nevermore  to  leave  or  separate  myself  from  Thee, 
O  my  only  love  !  My  soul  has  become  enamoured  of  Thee,  O 
my  amiable  Infant  God  !  I  love  Thee,  my  sweet  Saviour ;  and 
since  Thou  hast  come  upon  earth  to  save  me  and  to  dispense  to 
me  Thy  graces,  I  ask  this  one  only  grace  of  Thee,  permit  me  not 
to  be  ever  again  separated  from  Thee.  Unite  me,  bind  me  to 
Thyself,  enchain  me  with  the  sweet  cords  of  Thy  holy  love.  O 
my  Redeemer  and  my  God,  who  will  then  have  the  heart  to 
leave  Thee,  and  to  live  without  Thee,  deprived  of  Thy  grace  ? 
Most  holy  Mary,  I  come  to  accompany  thee  in  this  journey; 
and  thou,  O  my  Mother,  cease  not  to  accompany  me  in  the 
journey  that  I  am  making  to  eternity.  Do  thou  assist  me  al 
ways,  but  especially  when  I  shall  find  myself  at  the  end  of  my 
life,  and  near  that  moment  on  which  will  depend  either  my  re 
maining  always  with  thee  to  love  Jesus  in  paradise,  or  my  being 
forever  separated  from  thee  and  hating  Jesus  in  hell.  My 
Queen,  save  me  by  thy  intercession  ;  and  may  my  salvation  be  to 
love  thee  and  Jesus  forever,  in  time  and  in  eternity.  Thou  art 
my  hope  ;  I  hope  everything  from  thee. 


238  First  Meditation. 


ittcoitalions  for  tl)e  ODctaue  of  (ftljristmas,  anb  for  ttye 
following  EDajis  until  tl)e  (Epipljang. 

MEDITATION  I. 

DECEMBER  25. 
The  Birth  of  Jesus. 

The  birth  of  Jesus  Christ  caused  a  universal  joy  to  the 
whole  world.  He  was  the  Redeemer  who  ha^  been  de 
sired  and  sighed  after  for  so  many  years;  and  therefore 
lie  was  called  the  desired  of  the  nations,  and  the  desire 
of  the  eternal  hills.  Behold  him  already  come,  and  born 
in  a  little  cave.  Let  us  consider  that  this  day  the  angel 
announces  to  us  also  the  same  great  joy  that  he  an 
nounced  to  the  shepherds:  Behold,  I  bring  you  good  ti 
dings  of  great  joy,  that  shall  be  to  all  the  people;  for  this  day  is 
born  to  you  a  Saviour? 

What  rejoicing  is  there  in  a  country  when  the  first-born 
son  is  born  to  a  king  !  But  surely  we  ought  to  keep  still 
greater  festival  when  we  see  the  Son  of  God  born  and 
come  down  from  heaven  to  visit  us,  urged  to  this  by  the 
bowels  of  his  mercy:  Through  the  bowels  of  the  mercy  of 
our  God,  in  which  the  Orient  from  on  high  hath  visited  us? 
We  were  lost;  and  behold  him  who  came  to  save  us:  He 
came  down  from  heaven  for  our  salvation:"  Behold  the 
shepherd  who  came  to  save  his  sheep  from  death  by  giv 
ing  his  life  for  their  sake:  I  am  the  good  shepherd;  the  good 
shepherd  giveth  Jiis  life  for  his  s/ieep.*  Behold  the  Lamb  of 

"  Ecce  enim  evangelizo  vobis  gaudium  magnum,  quod  erit  omni 
populo,  quia  natus  est  vobis  hodie  Salvator. " — Luke,  ii.  10. 

2  "  Per  viscera  misericordiae  Dei  nostri,  in  quibus  visitavit  nos 
Oriens  ex  alto." — Luke,  i.  78. 

"  Propter  nostram  salutem,  descendit  de  coelis." — Symb.  Nic. 

"Ego  sum  Pastor  bonus.     Bonus  Pastor  animam  suam  dat  pro 
ovibus  suis." — John,  x.  n. 


The  Festival  of  Christmas.  239 

God,  who  came  to  sacrifice  himself,  to  obtain  for  us  the 
divine  favor,  and  to  become  our  deliverer,  our  life,  our 
light,  and  even  our  food  in  the  most  Holy  Sacrament  ! 

St.  Maximus  says  that  for  this  reason,  amongst  others, 
Christ  chose  to  belaid  in  the  manger  where  the  animals 
were  fed,  to  make  us  understand  that  he  has  become  man 
also  to  make  himself  our  food:  "In  the  manger,  where 
the  food  of  animals  is  placed,  he  allowed  his  limbs  to  be 
laid,  thereby  showing  that  his  own  body  would  be  the 
eternal  food  of  men."1  Besides  this,  he  is  born  every 
day  in  the  Sacrament  by  means  of  the  priests  and  the 
words  of  consecration;  the  altar  is  the  crib,  and  there 
we  go  to  feed  ourselves  on  his  flesh.  Some  one  might 
desire  to  have  the  Holy  Infant  in  his  arms,  as  the  aged 
Simeon  had;  but  faith  teaches  us  that,  when  we  receive 
Communion,  the  same  Jesus  who  was  in  the  manger  of 
Bethlehem  is  not  only  in  our  arms,  but  in  our  breasts. 
He  was  born  for  this  purpose,  to  give  himself  entirely  to 
us:  A  child  is  born  to  us,  a  son  is  given  to  us? 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

I  have  gone  astray  like  a  sheep  that  is  lost;  seek  Thy  servant? 
O  Lord,  I  am  that  sheep  which,  by  following  after  my  own 
pleasures  and  caprices,  have  miserably  lost  myself ;  but  Thou, 
who  art  at  once  the  shepherd  and  divine  Lamb,  art  he  who 
earnest  down  from  heaven  to  save  me  by  sacrificing  Thyself  as  a 
victim  on  the  cross  in  satisfaction  for  my  sins.  Behold,  tJic 
Lamb  of  God  ;  behold  Him  who  taketh  away  the  sins  of  the  world. 
If,  therefore,  I  desire  to  amend  my  life,  what  need  I  fear?  why 
should  I  not  confide  entirely  in  Thee,  O  my  Saviour,  who  wert 
born  on  purpose  to  save  me  ?  Behold,  God  is  my  Saviour ;  I  will 

1  "  In  praesepio,  ubi  pastus  est  animalium,  sua  collocari  membra 
permittit;  in  aeternam  refectionem  vescendum  a  mortalibus  suum 
corpus  ostendit.'' — In  Nat.  D.  s.  5. 

'2  "  Parvulus  natus  est  nobis,  et  Filius  datus  est  nobis." — Isa.  ix.  6. 

3  "  Erravi  sicut  ovis  quse  periit;  quaere  servum  tuum." — Ps.  cxviii. 

176. 

4  "Ecce  Agnus  Dei,  ecce  qui  tollit  peccatum."— John,  i.  29. 


240  Second  Meditation. 

put  my  trust  in  him,  and  will  not  fear.1  What  greater  proof 
couldst  Thou  give  me  of  Thy  mercy,  O  my  dearest  Redeemer, 
to  inspire  me  with  confidence,  than  to  give  me  Thyself?  O  my 
dear  Infant,  how  grieved  am  I  that  I  have  offended  Thee!  I 
have  made  Thee  weep  in  the  stable  of  Bethlehem.  But  since 
Thou  art  come  to  seek  me,  I  throw  myself  at  Thy  feet;  and 
although  I  behold  Thee  afflicted  and  humbled,  lying  upon  straw 
in  the  manger,  I  acknowledge  Thee  for  my  supreme  king  and 
sovereign.  I  feel  that  Thy  tender  infant-cries  invite  me  to  love 
Thee,  and  demand  my  heart.  Behold  it,  my  Jesus;  I  present  it 
to-day  at  Thy  feet ;  change  it  and  inflame  it,  O  Thou  who  didst 
come  into  the  world  to  inflame  the  hearts  of  men  with  Thy  holy 
love.  I  feel  as  if  I  heard  Thee  say  to  me  in  Thy  manger,  Love 
the  Lord  thy  God  with  thy  whole  heart."  And  I  will  answer,  Ah, 
my  Jesus,  if  I  do  not  love  Thee,  who  art  my  Lord  and  my  God, 
whom  shall  I  love?  Thou  callest  Thyself  mine,  because  Thou 
wert  born  in  order  to  give  Thyself  entirely  to  me;  and  shall  I 
refuse  to  be  Thine  ?  No,  my  beloved  Lord,  1  give  myself  en 
tirely  to  Thee;  and  I  love  Thee  with  my  whole  heart.  I  love 
Thee,  I  love  Thee,  I  love  Thee,  O  sovereign  Good,  the  one  only 
love  of  my  soul.  I  beseech  Thee  accept  me  this  day,  and  per 
mit  me  not  evermore  to  cease  to  love  Thee.  O  Mary,  my 
Queen,  I  pray  thee,  through  that  consolation  which  thou  didst 
enjoy  the  first  time  thou  didst  behold  thy  new-born  Son  and 
didst  give  him  thy  first  kiss,  beseech  him  to  accept  me  for  his 
servant,  and  to  enchain  me  forever  to  himself  by  the  gift  of  his 
holy  love. 

MEDITATION  II. 

DECEMBER  26. 
Jesus  is  born  an  Infant 

Consider  that  the  first  sign  which  the  angel  gave  to  the 
shepherds  whereby  they  might  discover  the  new-born 
Messias  was  that  they  would  find  him  under  the  form  of 

1  "  Ecce  Deus  Salvator  meus;  fiducialiter  agam,  et  non  timebo." — 
Isa.  xii.  2. 
"2  "  Diliges  Dominum  Deum  tuum  ex  toto  corde  tuo." — Matt.  xxii. 

37- 


The  Festival  of  Christmas.  241 

an  infant:  You  shall  find  the  infant  wrapped  in  swaddling- 
clothes,  and  laid  in  a  manger.1  The  littleness  of  infants  is 
a  great  attraction  for  love;  but  a  still  greater  attraction 
must  the  littleness  of  the  Infant  Jesus  be  to  us,  who, 
being  the  incomprehensible  God,  has  made  himself 
small  for  the  love  of  us:  "  For  our  sake  he  became  a 
little  child."2 

Adam  came  into  the  world  at  a  full  age  ;  but  the  eter 
nal  Word  chose  to  appear  as  an  infant — a  child  is  born  to 
lis* — that  he  might  thus  attract  our  hearts  to  himself 
with  greater  force:  "  so  would  he  be  born,  who  willed  to 
be  loved."4  He  came  not  into  the  world  to  inspire  ter 
ror,  but  to  be  loved;  and  for  this  reason  he  preferred  to 
show  himself,  at  his  first  appearance,  as  a  tender,  weak 
infant.  "  Our  Lord  is  great,  and  greatly  to  be  praised,"  E 
says  St.  Peter  Chrysologus.  My  Lord  is  great,  and 
therefore  he  deserves  highly  to  be  praised  for  his  divine 
majesty.  But  when  the  saint  considered  him  as  a  little 
child  in  the  stable  of  Bethlehem,  he  exclaimed  with  ten 
derness,  "My  Lord  is  a  little  child,  and  greatly  to  be 
loved."6  My  great  and  supreme  God  has  made  himself 
little  for  my  sake. 

Ah,  how  is  it  possible  that  any  one  can  reflect  with 
faith  on  a  God  become  a  little  child,  crying  and  wailing 
on  the  straw  in  a  cave,  and  yet  not  love  him,  and  invite 
all  men  to  love  him,  as  did  St.  Francis  of  Assisi,  who 
said,  "  Let  us  love  the  child  of  Bethlehem,  let  us  love 
the  child  of  Bethlehem."  7  He  is  an  infant;  he  does  not 
1  "  Invenietis  infantem  pannis  involutum,  et  positum  in  praesepio." 
— Luke,  ii.  12. 

"  Propter  nos  factus  est  parvulus." — In  Ps.  Iviii.  s.  i. 

"  Parvulus  natus  est  nobis." 

"  Sic  nasci  voluit,  qui  voluit  amari." 

"  Magnus  Dominus  et  laudabilis  nimis." — Ps.  cxliv.  3. 

"  Parvus  Dominus  et  amabilis  nimis." — In  Cant.  s.  48. 
'  "Amemus  Puerum  de  Bethlehem  !     Amemus  Puerum  de  Beth 
lehem  !" 

16 


242  Second  Meditation. 

speak,  he  only  cries;  but,  O  my  God  !  are  not  these  cries 
all  voices  of  love,  with  which  he  invites  us  to  love  him, 
and  demands  our  hearts  ! 

Let  us  consider,  besides,  that  infants  also  gain  our 
affections  because  we  consider  them  innocent:  but  all 
other  infants  are  born  with  the  infection  of  original  sin; 
Jesus  was  born  an  infant,  but  he  was  born  holy;  "  holy, 
innocent,  unpolluted."1  My  beloved,  says  the  holy 
spouse,  is  all  ruddy  with  love,  and  all  white  with  inno 
cence,  without  a  spot  of  any  sin:  My  beloved  is  while  and 
ruddy,  chosen  out  of  thousands?  In  this  Infant  did  the 
eternal  Father  find  his  delight,  because,  as  St.  Gregory 
says,  "  in  him  alone  he  found  no  fault." 

Let  us  miserable  sinners  comfort  ourselves,  because 
this  divine  Infant  has  come  down  from  heaven  to  com 
municate  his  innocence  to  us  by  means  of  his  Passion. 
His  merits,  if  we  only  know  how  to  apply  them  to  our 
selves,  can  change  us  from  sinners  into  innocents  and 
saints:  in  these  merits  let  us  place  all  our  confidence; 
through  them  let  us  continually  ask  for  graces  from  the 
eternal  Father,  and  we  shall  obtain  everything. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

Eternal  Father,  I,  a  miserable  sinner,  worthy  of  hell,  have 
nothing  of  my  own  to  offer  Thee  in  satisfaction  for  my  sins;  I 
offer  Thee  the  tears,  the  sufferings,  the  blood,  the  death  of  this 
Infant,  who  is  Thy  Son  ;  and  through  them  I  implore  pity  from 
Thee.  If  I  had  not  this  Son  to  offer  Thee,  I  should  be  lost; 
there  would  be  no  longer  any  hope  for  me  ;  but  Thou  hast  given 
him  to  me  for  this  purpose,  in  order  that,  in  offering  Thee  his 
merits,  I  might  have  a  good  hope  of  my  salvation.  My  ingrati 
tude,  O  Lord,  is  great ;  but  Thy  mercy  is  still  greater.  And 
what  greater  mercy  could  I  hope  for  from  Thee,  than  that  Thou 

1  "Sanctus,  innocens,  impoliutus."—  Heb.  vii.  26. 
8  "  Dilectus  meus  candidus  et  rubicundus,  electus  ex  millibus." — 
Cant.  v.  10. 
8  "In  hoc  solo  non  invenit  culpam." — /;/  Ezech.  horn.  8. 


The  Festival  of  Christmas.  243 

shouldst  give  me  Thy  own  Son  for  my  Redeemer,  and  for  the 
victim  of  my  sins?  For  the  love,  therefore,  of  Jesus  Christ, 
forgive  me  all  the  offences  that  I  have  committed  against  Thee, 
of  which  I  repent  with  my  whole  heart,  because  by  them  I  have 
offended  Thee,  O  infinite  Goodness.  And  for  the  sake  of  Jesus 
Christ,  I  ask  of  Thee  holy  perseverance.  O  my  God,  if  I  should 
again  offend  Thee,  after  Thou  hast  waited  for  me  with  so  much 
patience  ;  after  Thou  hast  assisted  me  with  so  much  light,  and 
forgiven  me  with  so  much  love, — I  should  indeed  deserve  a 
special  hell  for  myself.  O  my  Father,  do  not  forsake  me,  I  pray 
Thee.  I  tremble  when  I  think  of  the  number  of  times  that  I 
have  betrayed  Thee  ;  how  many  times  have  I  promised  to  love 
Thee,  and  then  have  again  turned  my  back  upon  Thee?  O  my 
Creator,  let  me  not  have  to  lament  the  misfortune  of  seeing 
myself  again  deprived  of  Thy  favor :  "  Permit  me  not  to  be  sep 
arated  from  Thee ;  permit  me  not  to  be  separated  from  Thee."  * 
I  repeat  it,  and  will  repeat  it  to  my  very  last  breath  ;  and  do 
Thou  always  give  me  the  grace  to  repeat  to  Thee  this  prayer  : 
"  Permit  me  not  to  be  separated  from  Thee."2  My  Jesus,  my 
dearest  Infant,  enchain  me  with  Thy  love.  I  love  Thee,  and 
will  always  love  Thee.  Permit  me  not  to  be  ever  again  sep 
arated  from  Thy  love.  I  love  thee  too,  my  Mother  ;  oh,  do  thou 
also  love  me.  And  if  thou  lovest  me,  this  is  the  favor  I  beg 
thee  to  obtain  for  me,  that  I  may  never  cease  to  love  my  God. 


MEDITATION  III. 

DECEMBER  27. 
Jesus  in  Swaddling-clothes. 

Imagine  that  you  see  Mary,  having  now  brought  forth 
her  Son,  taking  him  with  reverence  in  her  arms,  adoring 
him  as  herGod,  and  then  wrapping  him  up  in  swaddling- 
clothes:  She  wrapped  Him  up  in  swaddling-clothes?  The 
Holy  Church  says  the  same: 

1  "  Ne  permittas  me  separari  a  te  !  ne  permittas  me  separari  a  te .'" 
'2  "  Ne  permittas  me  separari  a  te." 
3  "  Pannis  eum  involvit." — Luke,  ii.  7. 


244  Third  Meditation. 

"  His  limbs,  wrapped  in  swaddling-clothes, 
The  Virgin  Mother  binds."  1 

Behold  the  Infant  Jesus,  who  obediently  offers  his  little 
hands  and  feet,  and  allows  himself  to  be  swaddled. 
Consider  that  every  time  the  Holy  Infant  allowed  him 
self  to  be  swathed  he  thought  of  the  cords  with  which 
he  should  one  day  be  bound  and  led  captive  in  the  gar 
den,  and  of  those  also  with  which  he  should  be  tied  to  the 
column,  and  of  the  nails  which  should  fasten  him  to  the 
cross;  and  thinking  of  these  things,  he  willingly  allowed 
himself  to  be  bound,  in  order  to  deliver  our  souls  from 
the  chains  of  hell. 

Bound,  then,  in  these  swaddling-clothes,  and  turning 
towards  us,  Jesus  invites  us  to  unite  ourselves  to  him 
with  the  holy  bonds  of  love.  And  turning  to  his  eternal 
Father,  he  says:  My  Father,  men  have  abused  their  lib 
erty,  and  by  rebelling  against  Thee  have  made  them 
selves  the  slaves  of  sin;  but  I  will  make  satisfaction  for 
their  disobedience,  and  will  be  bound  and  confined  in 
these  swaddling-clothes.  Bound  with  these,  I  offer  Thee 
my  liberty,  in  order  that  man  may  be  delivered  from  the 
slavery  of  the  devil.  I  accept  these  swaddling-clothes; 
they  are  dear  to  me,  because  they  are  the  symbols  of  the 
cords  with  which,  from  this  moment  forth,  I  offer  myself 
to  be  one  day  bound  and  led  to  death  for  the  salvation 
of  men. 

His  bands  are  a  healthful  binding?  The  bands  of  Jesus 
were  the  healthful  binding,  to  heal  the  wounds  of  our 
souls.  Therefore,  O  my  Jesus,  Thou  wouldst  be  bound 
in  swaddling-clothes  for  the  love  of  me.  "  O  Love,  how 
great  is  thy  bond,  which  could  bind  a  God."  O  divine 
Love,  Thou  alone  couldst  make  my  God  Thy  prisoner. 

1  "  Membra  pannis  involuta  Virgo  Mater  alligat." — Off.  de  Pass. 

2  "  Vincula  illius,  alligatura  salutaris." — Ecclus.  vi.  31. 

3  "O  Charitas  !  quam  magnum  est  vinculum  tuum,  quo  Deus  ligari 
potuit!" — Lign.  V.  de  Char.  c.  6, 


The  Festival  of  Christmas.  245 

And  shall  I  then,  O  Lord,  refuse  to  allow  myself  to  be 
bound  by  Thy  holy  love  ?  Shall  I  for  the  future  have 
the  courage  to  detach  myself  from  Thy  sweet  and 
amiable  chains?  And  for  what?  To  make  myself  a 
slave  of  hell  ?  O  my  Lord,  Thou  remainest  bound  up  in 
this  manger  for  the  love  of  me;  I  desire  always  to  re 
main  bound  to  Thee. 

St.  Mary  Magdalene  of  Pazzi  said  that  the  bands  that 
we  ought  to  take  should  be  a  firm  resolution  of  uniting 
ourselves  to  God  by  means  of  love;  detaching  ourselves 
at  the  same  time  from  all  affection  for  anything  that  is 
not  God.  For  this  reason,  also,  it  seems  that  our  loving 
Jesus  has  allowed  himself  to  be,  as  it  were,  bound  and 
made  a  prisoner  in  the  Most  Holy  Sacrament  of  the 
Altar,  under  the  sacramental  species,  in  order  that  he 
might  behold  his  beloved  souls  made  also  prisoners  of 
his  love. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

And  what  fear  can  I  have  of  Thy  chastisement,  O  my  be 
loved  Infant,  now  that  I  see  Thee  bound  in  the  swaddling- 
clothes,  depriving  Thyself,  as  it  were,  of  the  power  of  raising 
Thy  hands  to  punish  me  ?  Thou  dost  give  me  to  understand 
by  these  bands  that  Thou  wilt  not  chastise  me,  if  I  will  detach 
myself  from  the  chains  of  my  vices  and  bind  myself  to  Thee. 
Yes,  my  Jesus,  I  will  bind  myself.  I  repent  with  all  my  heart 
of  having  separated  myself  from  Thee,  by  abusing  that  liberty 
which  Thou  hast  given  me.  Thou  dost  offer  me  a  more  desir 
able  liberty;  a  liberty  which  delivers  me  from  the  chains  of 
the  devil,  and  places  me  among  the  children  of  God.  Thou 
hast  given  Thyself  up  to  be  imprisoned  in  these  swaddling- 
clothes  for  the  love  of  me  ;  I  will  be  in  future  a  prisoner  of 
Thy  infinite  love.  O  blessed  chains,  O  beautiful  emblems  of 
salvation,  which  bind  souls  to  God,  bind  also  my  poor  heart; 
but  bind  it  so  fast  that  it  may  never  in  future  be  able  to  dis 
engage  itself  from  the  love  of  this  sovereign  Good.  My  Jesus, 
I  love  Thee ;  I  bind  myself  to  Thee ;  I  give  Thee  my  whole 
heart,  my  whole  will.  No,  I  will  never  leave  Thee  again,  my 


246  Fourth  Meditation. 

beloved  Lord.  O  my  Saviour,  who,  to  pay  my  debts,  wouldst 
not  only  be  wrapped  by  Mary  in  swaddling-clothes,  but  even 
be  bound  as  a  criminal  by  the  executioners,  and  thus  bound 
wouldst  go  along  the  streets  of  Jerusalem,  led  to  death  as  an 
innocent  lamb  to  the  slaughter-house;  O  Thou  who  wouldst 
be  nailed  to  the  cross,  and  didst  not  leave  it  until  Thou  hadst 
given  up  Thy  life  upon  it,— I  beseech  Thee  permit  me  not  to 
be  ever  separated  again  from  Thee,  so  that  I  should  again  find 
myself  deprived  of  Thy  favor  and  of  Thy  love.  O  Mary,  who 
didst  one  day  bind  in  swaddling-clothes  this  thy  innocent 
Son,  I  pray  thee,  do  thou  bind  me  also,  a  miserable  sinner; 
bind  me  to  Jesus,  so  that  I  may  never  again  separate  myself 
from  his  feet,  that  I  may  always  live  and  die  bound  to  him, 
so  that  one  day  I  may  have  the  happiness  to  enter  into  that 
blessed  country  where  I  shall  never  be  able  and  shall  never 
be  afraid  of  detaching  myself  from  his  holy  love. 

MEDITATION  IV. 

DECEMBER  28. 
Jesus  taking  Milk. 

As  soon  as  Jesus  was  swathed,  he  looked  for  and  took 
milk  from  the  breast  of  Mary.  The  spouse  in  the  Canti 
cles  desired  to  see  her  little  brother  taking  milk  from  his 
mother  :  Who  shall  give  thee  to  me  for  my  brother,  sucking 
the  breast  of  my  mother.^  The  spouse  desired  it,  but  did 
not  see  him;  but  we  have  had  the  happiness  to  see  the 
Son  of  God  made  Man  and  become  our  brother,  taking 
milk  from  the  breasts  of  Mary.  Oh,  what  a  spectacle 
must  it  not  have  been  to  Paradise  to  see  the  divine 
Word  become  an  infant  sucking  milk  from  a  virgin  who 
was  his  own  creature  ! 

He,  then,  who  feeds  all  men  and  all  animals  upon  the 
earth,  is  become  so  weak  and  so  poor  that  he  requires  a 
little  milk  to  sustain  life  !  Sister  Paula,  the  Camaldolese, 

1  "  Quis  mihi  det  te  fratrem  meum  sugentem  ubera  matris  meae  ?" — 
Cant,  viii.  I, 


The  Festival  of  Christmas.  247 

in  contemplating  a  little  image  of  Jesus  taking  milk, 
felt  herself  immediately  all  inflamed  with  a  tender  love 
to  God.  Jesus  took  but  little  of  this  milk,  and  took  it 
but  seldom  in  the  day.  It  was  revealed  to  Sister  Mary 
Anne,  a  Franciscan,  that  Mary  only  gave  him  milk  three 
times  in  the  day.  O  milk  most  precious  to  us,  to  be 
changed  into  blood  in  the  veins  of  Jesus  Christ,  and  so 
to  be  made  by  him  a  bath  of  salvation  to  cleanse  our 
souls  ! 

Let  us  consider  also  that  Jesus  took  this  milk  in  order 
to  nourish  the  body  which  he  wished  to  leave  us  as  food 
in  the  Holy  Communion.  Therefore,  my  Blessed  Re 
deemer,  whilst  Thou  dost  suck  the  breast  of  Mary, 
Thou  art  thinking  of  me;  Thou  art  thinking  of  changing 
this  milk  into  blood,  to  be  shed  afterwards  at  Thy  death, 
as  the  price  wherewith  to  ransom  my  soul,  and  as  its 
food  in  the  most  Holy  Sacrament,  which  is  the  salutary 
milk  with  which  our  Lord  preserves  our  souls  in  the  life 
of  grace:  "  Christ  is  your  milk,"  *  says  St.  Augustine. 

0  beloved   Infant,   O    my   Jesus,  let  me  also  exclaim 
with  the  woman  in    the   Gospel,  Blessed  is  the  womb  that 
bare  T/iee,  and  the  paps  that  gave  Thee  suck.'1'     Blessed  art 
thoti,  O   Mother  of   God,    who   hadst   the   happiness   to 
give  milk   to   the   Incarnate  Word  !     Oh,  admit  me,   in 
company  with  this  great  Son,  to  take  from  thee  the  milk 
of  a  tender  and  loving  devotion  to  the  Infancy  of  Jesus, 
and  to  thyself,  my  dearest  mother. 

And  I  thank  Thee,  O  divine  Infant,  who  didst  deign  to 
stand  in  need  of  milk  for  Thy  support  in  order  to  show 
me  the  love  that  Thou  bearest  me.  This  is  what  our 
Lord  once  gave  St.  Mary  Magdalene  of  Pazzi  to  under 
stand  that  he  had  reduced  himself  to  the  necessity  of 
taking  milk  in  order  to  make  us  comprehend  the  love 
that  he  has  for  redeemed  souls. 

1  "  Lac  vestrum  Christus  est  !" — In  I  Jo.  tr.  3. 

a  "  Beatus  venter  qui  te  portavit,  et  ubera  quze  suxisti." — Luke,  xi. 
27. 


248  Fifth  Meditation. 


Affections  and  Prayers. 

O  my  sweet  and  most  amiable  Infant,  Thou  art  the  bread  of 
heaven,  and  dost  sustain  the  angels:  Thou  dost  provide  all 
creatures  with  food  ;  and  yet  how  art  Thou  reduced  to  the 
necessity  of  begging  a  little  milk  from  a  Virgin  in  order  to  pre 
serve  Thy  life !  O  divine  love,  how  couldst  Thou  reduce  a  God 
to  such  a  state  of  poverty  that  he  was  in  want  of  a  little  food  ? 
But  I  understand  Thee,  O  my  Jesus !  Thou  didst  take  milk 
from  Mary  in  this  stable  to  offer  it  to  God  changed  into  blood 
on  the  cross  as  a  sacrifice,  and  in  satisfaction  for  our  sins. 
Give,  O  Mary!  give  all  the  milk  thou  canst  to  this  Son,  be 
cause  every  drop  of  this  milk  will  serve  to  wash  out  the  sins  of 
my  soul,  and  to  nourish  it  afterwards  in  the  Holy  Communion. 
O  my  Redeemer!  how  can  one  not  love  Thee  who  believes 
what  Thou  hast  done  and  suffered  to  save  us?  And  I,  how 
could  I  know  this,  and  yet  be  so  ungrateful  to  Thee?  But  Thy 
goodness  is  my  hope  ;  and  this  makes  me  sure  that  if  I  wish  for 
Thy  grace  it  is  mine.  I  repent,  O  sovereign  Good  !  of  having 
offended  Thee,  and  I  love  Thee  above  all  things.  Or,  rather,  I 
love  nothing,  I  love  and  I  will  love  only  Thee ;  Thou  art  and 
shalt  always  be  my  only  good,  my  only  love.  My  beloved  Re 
deemer,  give  me,  I  pray  Thee,  a  tender  devotion  to  Thy  holy 
Infancy,  such  as  Thou  hast  given  to  so  many  souls,  who,  medi 
tating  on  Thee,  as  an  Infant,  forgetting  all  else,  seem  unable  to 
think  of  anything  but  loving  Thee.  It  is  true  that  they  are  in 
nocent,  and  I  am  a  sinner;  but  Thou  didst  become  a  child  to 
make  Thyself  loved  even  by  sinners.  I  have  been  such  ;  but 
now  I  love  Thee  with  my  whole  heart,  and  I  desire  nothing  but 
Thy  love.  O  Mary,  give  me  a  little  of  that  tenderness  with 
which  thou  didst  give  suck  to  the  Infant  Jesus. 

MEDITATION   V. 

DECEMBER  29. 
Jesus  lying  on  the  Straw. 

Jesus  is  born  in  the  stable  at  Bethlehem.  His  poor 
Mother  has  neither  wool  nor  down  to  make  a  bed  for  the 
tender  Infant.  What  does  she  do,  then  ?  She  gathers 


The  Festival  of  Christmas.  249 

together  a  small  handful  of  straw  into  the  manger,  and 
puts  it  there  for  him  to  lie  on  :  And  she  laid  Him  in  the 
manger.'  But,  O  my  God,  how  hard  and  painful  is  this 
bed  for  an  infant  just  born  ;  the  limbs  of  a  babe  are  so 
delicate,  and  especially  the  limbs  of  Jesus,  which  were 
formed  by  the  Holy  Spirit  with  a  special  delicacy,  in 
order  that  they  might  be  the  more  sensible  to  suffering: 
A  body  Thou  hast  fitted  to  Me? 

Wherefore  the  hardness  of  such  a  bed  must  have 
caused  him  excessive  pain,— pain  and  shame;  for  what 
child,  even  of  the  lowest  of  the  people,  is  ever  laid  on 
straw  as  soon  as  he  is  born  ?  Straw  is  only  a  fit  bed  for 
beasts;  and  yet  the  Son  of  God  had  none  other  on  earth 
than  a  bed  of  miserable  straw  '  St.  Francis  of  Assisi 
heard  one  day  as  he  sat  at  table  these  words  of  the 
Gospel  :  And  laid  Him  in  the  manger;  3  and  exclaimed, 
"  What  ?  my  Lord  was  laid  on  the  straw,  and  shall  I  con 
tinue  to  sit?"  And  thus  he  arose  from  his  seat,  threw 
himself  on  the  ground,  and  there  finished  his  scanty 
meal,  mingling  it  with  tears  of  tenderness  as  he  contem 
plated  the  sufferings  that  the  Infant  Jesus  endured  whilst 
lie  lay  on  the  straw. 

But  why  did  Mary,  who  had  so  earnestly  desired  the 
birth  of  this  Son — why  did  she,  who  loved  him  so  much, 
allow  him  to  lie  and  suffer  on  this  hard  bed,  instead  of 
keeping  him  in  her  arms?  This  is  a  mystery,  says  St. 
Thomas  of  Villanova  :  "  Nor  would  she  have  laid  him  in 
such  a  place,  unless  there  had  been  some  great  mystery 
in  it."4  This  great  mystery  has  been  explained  by  many 
in  different  ways,  but  the  most  pleasing  explanation  to 
me  is  that  of  St.  Peter  Damian  :  Jesus  wished  as  soon  as 

1  "  Et  reclinavit  eum  in  praesepio." — Luke,  ii.  7. 
4  "  Corpus  autem  aptasti  mihi." — 11  eb.  x.  5. 

3  "  Et  reclinavit  eum  in  praesepio." 

4  "  Neque  ilium  tali  loco  posuisset.nisi  magnum  aliquod  mysterium 
ageretur." — In  Natal.  D.  cone.  I. 


250  Fifth  Meditation. 

he  was  born  to  be  placed  on  the  straw,  in  order  to  teach 
us  the  mortification  of  our  senses  :  "He  laid  down  the 
law  of  martyrdom."  '  The  world  had  been  lost  by  sen 
sual  pleasures;  through  them  had  Adam  and  multitudes 
of  his  descendants  till  then  been  lost.  The  Eternal  Word 
came  from  heaven  to  teach  us  the  love  of  suffering;  and 
lie  began  as  a  child  to  teach  it  to  us  by  choosing  for  him 
self  the  most  acute  sufferings  that  an  infant  can  endure. 
It  was,  therefore,  he  himself  who  inspired  his  Mother  to 
cease  from  holding  him  in  her  tender  arms,  and  to  re 
place  him  on  the  hard  bed,  that  he  might  feel  the  more 
cold  of  the  cave  and  the  pricking  of  this  rough  straw. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

O  Lover  of  souls,  O  my  loving  Redeemer!  is  not,  then,  the 
sorrowful  Passion  that  awaits  Thee,  and  the  bitter  death  that  is 
prepared  for  Thee  on  the  cross,  sufficient,  but  Thou  must,  even 
from  the  commencement  of  Thy  life,  even  from  Thy  infancy, 
begin  to  suffer?     Yes,  because  even  as  an  infant  Thou  wouldst 
begin  to  be  my  Redeemer,  and  to  satisfy  the  divine  justice  for 
my  sins.     Thou  didst  choose  a  bed  of  straw  to  deliver  me  from 
the  fire  of  hell,  into  which  I  have  so  many  times  deserved  to  be 
cast.     Thou  didst  cry  and  mourn  on  this  bed  of  straw  to  obtain 
for  me  pardon  from  Thy  Father.     Oh,  how  these  Thy  tears  afflict 
and  yet  console  me  !     They  afflict  me  from  compassion  at  seeing 
Thee,  an  innocent  babe,  suffering  so  much  for  sins  not  Thy 
own  ;  but  they  console  me,  because  Thy  sufferings  assure  me  of 
my  salvation,  and  of  Thy  immense  love  for  me.     But,  my  Jesus, 
1  will  not  leave  Thee  alone  to  cry  and  to  suffer.     I  myself  will 
also  weep  ;  for  I  alone  deserve  to  shed  tears  on  account  of  the 
offences  I  have  committed  against  Thee.     I,  who  have  deserved 
hell,  will  not  refuse  any  suffering  whatever,  so  that  I  may  regain 
Thy  favor,  O  my  Saviour.     Forgive  me,  I  beseech  Thee ;  receive 
me  once  more  into  Thy  friendship,  make  me  love  Thee,  and 
then  chastise  me  as  Thou  wilt.     Deliver  me  from  eternal  pun 
ishment,  and  then  treat  me  as  it  shall  please  Thee.     I  do  not 

J  "Legem  martyrii  prsefigebat." 


The  Festival  of  Christmas.  2  5  i 

seek  for  pleasures  in  this  life;  he  does  not  deserve  pleasure  who 
has  had  the  temerity  to  offend  Thee,  O  infinite  Goodness.  I 
am  content  to  suffer  all  the  crosses  Thou  shalt  send  me ;  but, 
my  Jesus,  I  will  love  Thee  still.  O  Mary,  who  didst  sympathize 
by  thy  sufferings  with  the  sufferings  of  Jesus,  obtain  for  me  the 
grace  to  suffer  all  my  trials  with  patience.  Woe  to  me  if,  after 
so  many  sins,  I  do  not  suffer  something  in  this  life !  And 
blessed  shall  I  be  if  I  have  the  happiness  to  accompany  thee  in 
thy  sufferings,  O  my  sorrowful  Mother,  and  Thee,  O  my  Jesus, 
always  afflicted  and  crucified  for  love  of  me. 

MEDITATION  VI. 

DECEMBER  30. 

Jesus  sleeping. 

Very  short  and  painful  were  the  slumbers  of  the  Infant 
Jesus.  A  manger  was  his  cradle,  straw  was  his  bed,  and 
Straw  his  pillow;  so  that  Jesus  was  constantly  interrupted 
in  his  sleep  by  the  hardness  of  this  rough  and  painful 
little  bed,  and  by  the  severe  cold  of  the  cave.  Notwith 
standing  all  this,  nature  succumbing  to  its  wants,  the 
sweet  babe  from  time  to  time  slept  amidst  his  sufferings. 

But  the  sleep  of  Jesus  differed  very  much  from  that  of 
other  children.  The  slumbers  of  other  children  are  useful 
for  the  preservation  of  life,  but  not  for  the  operations  of 
the  soul,  because  the  soul,  being  buried  in  sleep  with  the 
senses,  cannot  then  work;  but  such  was  not  the  sleep  of 
Jesus  Christ:  /  sleep,  and  My  heart  watcheth.1  His  body 
was  asleep,  but  his  soul  was  watching;  because  in  Jesus 
there  was  united  the  person  of  the  Word,  who  could  not 
sleep,  nor  be  influenced  by  the  slumber  of  the  senses. 
The  Holy  Infant  slept  therefore;  but  while  he  slept  he 
thought  of  all  the  sufferings  he  was  to  endure  for  our 
sake  during  all  his  life  and  at  his  death.  He  thought  of 
the  labors  he  was  to  undergo  in  Egypt  and  in  Nazareth 

i  "  Ego  dormio,  et  cor  meum  vigilat." — Cant.  v.  2. 


252  Sixth  Meditation. 

during  his  miserable  and  despised  life;  he  thought  more 
particularly  on  the  scourges,  the  thorns,  the  ignominies, 
the  agonies,  and  on  that  miserable  death  that  he  should 
at  last  suffer  upon  the  cross;  and  whilst  he  was  sleeping 
he  offered  all  this  to  his  Eternal  Father  to  obtain  for  us 
pardon  and  salvation;  so  that  whilst  our  Saviour  was 
sleeping  he  was  meriting  for  us  and  appeasing  his 
Father,  and  obtaining  graces  for  us. 

Let  us  now  beseech  him,  by  the  merit  of  his  blessed 
slumbers,  to  deliver  us  from  the  deadly  slumber  of  sin 
ners  who  unhappily  sleep  in  the  death  of  sin,  forgetful 
of  God  and  of  his  love;  and  to  give  us  instead  the  blessed 
sleep  of  the  holy  spouse,  of  which  he  said,  Stir  not  up, 
nor  make  the  beloved  to  wake  till  she  please?  This  is  the 
sleep  that  God  gives  to  his  beloved  souls,  which  is  none 
other,  as  St.  Basil  says,  "  but  the  most  profound  oblivion 
of  all  things;"  2  and  this  is  when  the  soul  forgets  all 
earthly  things,  to  attend  only  to  God  and  to  the  things 
that  concern  his  glory. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

My  beloved  and  holy  Infant,  Thou  sleepest,  and  oh,  how  do 
Thy  slumbers  enamour  me  !  With  others  sleep  is  the  emblem 
of  death  ;  but  in  Thee  it  is  the  sign  of  eternal  life,  because 
whilst  Thou  art  sleeping  Thou  art  meriting  for  me  eternal  sal 
vation.  Thou  sleepest ;  but  Thy  heart  sleeps  not,  it  is  thinking 
of  suffering  and  dying  for  me.  Whilst  Thou  art  slumbering, 
Thou  art  praying  for  me,  and  obtaining  for  me  from  God  the 
eternal  rest  of  Paradise.  But  before  Thou  dost  carry  me  (as  I 
hope)  to  repose  with  Thee  in  heaven,  I  desire  that  Thou 
shouldst  repose  forever  in  my  soul.  There  was  a  time,  O  my 
God  !  when  I  drove  Thee  away  from  me ;  but  I  trust  that,  by 
means  of  knocking  so  often  at  the  door  of  my  heart,— now  by 

"Ne  suscitetis  neque  evigilare  faciatis  dilectam,  quoadusque  ipsa 
velit," — Cant.  ii.  7. 
8  "  Summa  rerum  omnium  oblivio." — Reg.  fus.  disp.  int.  6. 


The  Festival  of  Christmas.  253 

making  it  afraid,  now  by  enlightening  it,  now  by  the  voice  of 
love,— Thou  hast  already  obtained  an  entrance  there.  This,  I 
say,  is  my  hope,  because  I  feel  a  great  confidence  that  I  have 
been  forgiven  by  Thee;  I  feel  a  great  hatred  and  penitence  for 
the  offences  I  have  committed  against  Thee,— penitence  that 
causes  me  great  sorrow ;  but  a  sorrow  of  peace,  a  sorrow  that 
comforts  me  and  makes  me  hope  most  assuredly  for  pardon 
from  Thy  goodness.  I  thank  Thee,  my  Jesus,  and  I  pray  Thee 
never  again  to  separate  Thyself  from  my  soul.  I  know  indeed 
that  Thou  wilt  not  leave  me,  if  I  do  not  drive  Thee  away ;  but  this 
is  the  favor  I  ask  of  Thee  (and  I  pray  Thee  to  give  me  Thy  as 
sistance  that  I  may  always  seek  it  of  Thee),  that  Thou  wouldst 
not  permit  me  ever  to  drive  Thee  from  me.  Make  me  forget 
everything,  in  order  to  think  of  Thee  who  hast  always  thought 
of  me  and  of  my  welfare.  Make  me  always  love  Thee  in  this 
life,  so  that  I  may  breathe  forth  my  soul  in  Thy  arms,  united 
to  Thee,  and  may  repose  eternally  in  Thee  without  fear  of  los 
ing  Thee  again.  O  Mary,  assist  me  in  life  and  in  death,  so  that 
Jesus  may  always  repose  in  me,  and  that  I  may  always  repose 
in  Jesus. 

MEDITATION  VII. 

DECEMBER  31. 
Jesus  weeping. 

The  tears  of  the  Infant  Jesus  were  very  different  from 
those  of  other  new-born  babes:  these  weep  through  pain; 
Jesus  did  not  weep  from  pain,  but  through  compassion 
for  us  and  through  love:  "They  weep  because  of  suffer 
ing,  Christ  because  of  compassion,"1  says  St.  Bernard. 
Tears  are  a  great  sign  of  love.  Therefore  did  the  Jews 
say  when  they  saw  the  Saviour  weeping  for  the  death  of 
Lazarus:  Behold  how  He  loved  him.''  Thus  also  might  the 
angels  have  said  on  beholding  the  tears  of  the  Infant 

1  "Illi   ex   passione  lugent,  Christus  ex   compassioine." — In  Nat. 

D.  s.  3- 

2  "Ecce  quomodo  amat  eum  !" — John,  xi.  36. 


254  Seventh  Meditation. 

Jesus:  "Behold  how  he  loves  them."1  Behold  how  our 
God  loves  men;  since  for  the  love  of  them  we  see  him 
made  man,  become  an  Infant,  and  shedding  tears. 

Jesus  wept  and  offered  to  his  Father  his  tears  to  ob 
tain  for  us  the  pardon  of  our  sins.  "These  tears,"  says 
St.  Ambrose,  «  washed  away  my  sins;"2  by  his  cries  and 
tears  he  implored  mercy  for  us  who  were  condemned  to 
eternal  death,  and  thus  he  appeased  the  indignation  of 
his  Father.  Oh,  how  eloquently  did  the  tears  of  this 
divine  little  one  plead  in  our  behalf  !  Oh,  how  precious 
were  they  to  God  !  It  was  then  that  the  Father  caused 
the  angels  to  proclaim  that  he  made  peace  with  men, 
and  received  them  into  his  favor:  And  on  earth  peace  to 
men  of  good  will. 3 

Jesus  wept  through  love,  but  he  also  wept  through 
sorrow  at  the  thought  that  so  many  sinners,  even  after 
all  his  tears  and  the  blood  he  should  shed  for  their  sal 
vation,  would  yet  continue  to  despise  his  grace.  But 
who  would  be  so  hard-hearted,  on  seeing  an  Infant  God 
weeping  for  our  sins,  as  not  to  weep  also,  and  to  detest 
those  sins  that  have  made  this  loving  Saviour  shed  so 
many  tears  ?  Oh,  let  us  not  increase  the  sorrows  of  this 
innocent  babe;  but  let  us  console  him  by  uniting  our 
tears  to  his  !  Let  us  offer  to  God  the  tears  of  his  Son, 
and  let  us  beseech  him  for  their  sake  to  forgive  us  ! 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

My  beloved  Infant,  whilst  Thou  wert  weeping  in  the  stable 
of  Bethlehem,  Thou  wert  thinking  of  me ;  beholding  even  then 
my  sins,  which  were  the  cause  of  Thy  tears.  And  have  I,  then, 
O  my  Jesus!  instead  of  consoling  Thee  by  my  love  and'grati- 
tude  at  the  thought  of  what  Thou  hast'suffered  to  save  me, 
have  I  increased  Thy  sorrow  and  the  cause  of  Thy  tears  ?  If  I 

"  Ecce  quomodo  amat  eos  !" 

"  Mea  lacrymae  illae  delicta  lavarunt." — In  Luc.  ii. 

"  Et  in  terra  pax  hominibus  bonae  voluntatis."— Luke,  ii.  14. 


The  Festival  of  Christmas.  255 

had  sinned  less,  Thou  wouldst  have  wept  less.  Weep,  oh,  weep, 
for  Thou  hast  cause  to  weep  in  seeing  such  great  ingratitude  of 
men  to  Thy  great  love.  But  since  Thou  weepest,  weep  also  for 
me;  Thy  tears  are  my  hope.  I  also  will  weep  for  the  offences 
I  have  committed  against  Thee,  O  my  Redeemer  !  I  hate  them, 
I  detest  them,  I  repent  of  them  with  my  whole  heart.  I  weep 
for  all  those  days  and  those  wretched  nights  of  mine  in  which 
I  lived  as  Thy  enemy  and  deprived  of  Thy  beautiful  face  ;  but 
what  would  my  tears  avail,  O  my  Jesus,  without  Thine! 

Eternal  Father,  I  offer  Thee  the  tears  of  the  Infant  Jesus; 
for  their  sake  forgive  me.  And  Thou,  my  dearest  Saviour, 
offer  to  him  all  the  tears  that  Thou  didst  shed  for  me  during 
Thy  life,  and  with  them  appease  his  anger  against  me.  I  be-, 
seech  Thee  also,  O  my  Love,  to  soften  my  heart  by  these  tears, 
and  to  inflame  it  with  Thy  holy  love.  Oh  that  I  could  from 
this  day  forth  console  Thee  by  my  love  for  all  the  pain  I  have 
caused  Thee  by  offending  Thee  !  Grant,  therefore,  O  Lord! 
that  the  days  that  remain  to  me  in  this  life  may  not  any  more 
be  spent  in  offending  Thee,  but  only  in  weeping  for  the  offences 
I  have  committed  against  Thee,  and  in  loving  Thee  with  all 
the  affections  of  my  soul.  O  Mary  !  I  beseech  thee,  by  that 
tender  compassion  which  thou  didst  so  often  feel  at  the  sight 
of  the  Infant  Jesus  in  tears,  obtain  for  me  a  constant  sorrow  for 
the  offences  which  I  have  so  ungratefully  been  guilty  of  against 
him. 

MEDITATION   VIII. 

JANUARY  i. 
The  Name  of  Jesus.* 

The  name  of  Jesus  is  a  divine  name,  announced  to 
Mary  on  the  part  of  God  by  St.  Gabriel  :  and  thou  shalt 
call  'His  name  Jesus.1  For  that  reason  it  was  called  ^ 
name  above  all  names?  And  it  was  also  called  a  name  in 

1  "  Et  vocabis  nomen  ejus  Jesum." — Luke,  i.  31. 

2  "  Nomen  quod  est  super  omne  nomen." — Phil.  ii.  9. 

*  To-day  is  the  feast  of  the  circumcision  of  our  Lord. .  Further  on, 
on  page  316,  there  is  a  meditation  on  this  mystery. 


256  Eighth  Meditation. 

which    alone    salvation    is    found  :    whereby  we   must  be 
saved} 

This  great  name  is  likened  by  the  Holy  Spirit  unto 
oil:  Thy  name  is  as  oil  poured  out?  For  this  reason,  says 
St.  Bernard,  that  as  oil  is  light,  food,  and  medicine  ;  so 
the  name  of  Jesus  is  light  to  the  mind,  food  to  'the 
heart,  and  medicine  to  the  soul. 

It  is  light  to  the  mind.  By  this  name  the  world  was 
converted  from  the  darkness  of  idolatry  to  the  light  of 
faith.  We  who  have  been  born  in  these  regions,  where 
before  the  coming  of  Christ  all  our  ancestors  were  Gen- 
-tiles,  should  all  have  been  in  the  same  condition  had  not 
the  Messias  come  to  enlighten  us.  How  thankful  ought 
we  not,  then,  to  be  to  Jesus  Christ  for  the  gift  of  faith  ! 
And  what  would  have  become  of  us  if  we  had  been  born 
in  Asia,  in  Africa,  in  America,  or  in  the  midst  of  here 
tics  and  schismatics?  He  who  believes  not  is  lost:  He 
that  believeth  not  shall  be  condemned?  And  thus  probably 
we  also  should  have  been  lost. 

The  name  of  Jesus  is  also  food  that  nourishes  our 
hearts  ;  yes,  because  this  name  reminds  us  of  what  Jesus 
has  done  to  save  us.  Hence  this  name  consoles  us  in 
tribulation,  gives  us  strength  to  walk  along  the  way  of 
salvation,  supplies  us  with  courage  in  difficulties,  and 
inflames  us  to  love  our  Redeemer,  when  we  remember 
what  he  has  suffered  for  our  salvation. 

Lastly,  this  name  is  medicine  to  the  soul,  because  it 
renders  it  strong  against  the  temptations  of  our  ene 
mies.  The  devils  tremble  and  fly  at  the  invocation  of 
this  holy  name,  according  to  the  words  of  the  Apostle  : 
That  at  the  name  of  Jesus  every  knee  should  bow,  of  those 
that  are  in  heaven,  on  earth,  and  under  the  earth?  He  who 

"  In  quo  oporteat  nos  salvos  fieri."— Acts,  iv.  12. 
"Oleum  effusum,  nomen  tuum."— Cant.  i.  2. 
"Qui  non  crediderit,  condemnabitur."— Mark,  xvi.  16. 
4  "  In  nomine  Jesu,  omne  genu  flectatur  coelestium,  terrestrium,  et 
infernorum." — Phil.  ii.  10. 


The  Festival  of  Christmas.  257 

in  temptation  calls  upon  Jesus  shall  not  fall  ;  and  he 
who  constantly  invokes  him  shall  not  fall,  and  shall  be 
saved  :  Praising,  I  will  call  upon  the  Lord  ;  and  /  shall  be 
saved  from  my  enemies.1  And  who  was  ever  lost,  who 
when  he  was  tempted  invoked  Jesus?  He  alone  is  lost 
who  does  not  invoke  his  aid,  or  who,  whilst  the  tempta 
tion  continues,  ceases  to  invoke  him. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

Oh,  that  I  had  always  called  upon  Thee,  my  Jesus  ;  for  then 
I  should  never  have  been  conquered  by  the  devil !     I  have  mis 
erably  lost  Thy  grace,  because  in  temptation  I  have  neglected 
to  call  Thee  to  my  assistance.     But  now  I  hope  for  all  things 
through  Thy  holy  name  :  lean  do  all  things  in  Him  who  com 
forts  me*     Write,  therefore,  O  my  Saviour,  write  upon  my  poor 
heart  Thy  most  powerful   name  of  Jesus,  so  that,  by  having  it 
always  in  my  heart  by  loving  Thee,  1  may  have  it  always  on  my 
lips  by  invoking  Thee,  in  all  the  temptations  that  hell  prepares 
for  me,  in  order  to  induce  me  to  become  again  its  slave,  and  to 
separate  myself  from  Thee.     In  Thy  name  I  shall  find  every 
good.      If    I    am    afflicted,    it  will  console  me    when   I  think 
how  much   more  afflicted  Thou  hast   been  than  I  am,  and  all 
for  the   love  of  me ;  if  I  am  disheartened  on  account  of  my 
sins,  it  will  give    me   courage  when  I    remember   that  Thou 
earnest  into  the  world  to  save  sinners  ;  if  I  am  tempted,  Thy 
holy  name  will  give  me  strength,  when  I  consider  that  Thou 
canst  help  me  more  than  hell  can  cast  me  down ;  finally,  if  I 
feel  cold  in  Thy  love,  it  will  give  me  fervor,  by  reminding  me  of 
the  love  that  Thou  bearest  me.     I  love  Thee,  my  Jesus  !     Thou 
art,  and  I  trust  Thou  wilt  always  be,  my  only  Love.     To  Thee 
do  I  give  all  my  heart,  O   my  Jesus  !     Thee  alone  will  I  love ! 
Thee  will    I    invoke  as  often  as    I  possibly   can.      I   will    die 
with  Thy  name  upon  my  lips  ;  a  name  of  hope,  a  name  of  salva 
tion,  a  name  of  love.     O  Mary,  if  thou   lovest  me,  this   is  the 
grace  I  beg  of  thee  to  obtain  for  me,— the  grace  constantly  to 

1  "  Laudans  invocabo  Dominum,  et  ab  inimicis  meis  salvus  ero." — 

Ps.  xvii.  4. 

2  "  Omnia  possum  in  eo  qui  me  confortat." — Phil.  iv.  13. 

17 


258  Ninth  Meditation. 

invoke  thy  name  and  that  of  thy  Son ;  obtain  for  me  that  these 
most  sweet  names  may  be  the  breath  of  my  soul,  and  that  I  may 
always  repeat  them  during  my  life,  in  order  to  repeat  them  at 
my  death  with  my  last  breath.  Jesus  and  Mary,  help  me; 
Jesus  and  Mary,  I  love  you ;  Jesus  and  Mary,  1  recommend  my 
soul  to  you. 

MEDITATION  IX. 

JANUARY  2. 
The  Solitude  of  Jesus  in  the  Stable. ' 

Jesus  chose  at  his  birth  the  stable  of  Bethlehem  for 
his  hermitage  and  oratory;  and  for  this  purpose  he  so 
disposed  events  as  to  be  born  out  of  the  city  in  a  soli 
tary  cave,  in  order  to  recommend  to  us  the  love  of  soli 
tude  and  of  silence.  Jesus  remains  in  silence  in  the 
manger;  Mary  and  Joseph  adore  and  contemplate  him 
in  silence.  It  was  revealed  to  Sister  Margaret  of  the 
Blessed  Sacrament,  a  discalced  Carmelite,  who  was 
called  the  Spouse  of  the  Infant  Jesus,  that  all  that  passed 
in  the  cave  of  Bethlehem,  even  the  visit  of  the  shepherds 
and  the  adoration  of  the  holy  Magi,  took  place  in  silence, 
and  without  a  word. 

Silence  in  other  infants  is  impotence;  but  in  Jesus 
Christ  it  was  virtue.  The  Infant  Jesus  does  not  speak; 
but  oh  !  how  much  his  silence  says  !  Oh,  blessed  is  he 
that  converses  with  Jesus,  Mary,  and  Joseph,  in  this  holy 
solitude  of  the  manger.  The  shepherds,  though  ad 
mitted  there  but  for  a  very  short  time,  came  out  from 
the  stable  all  inflamed  with  love  to  God;  for  they  did 
nothing  but  praise  and  bless  him:  They  returned,  glorify 
ing  and  praising  God.'  Oh,  happy  the  soul  that  shuts  it 
self  up  in  the  solitude  of  Bethlehem  to  contemplate  the 
divine  mercy,  and  the  love  that  God  has  borne,  and  still 

"  Reversi  sunt  pastores  glorificantes  etlaudantes  Deum." — Luke, 
ii.  20, 


The  Festival  of  Christmas.  259 

bears,  to  men  !  /  will  lead  her  into  the  wilderness,  and  I 
will  speak  to  her  heart.1  There  the  divine  Infant  will 
speak,  not  to  the  ear,  but  to.  the  heart,  inviting  the  soul  to 
love  a  God  who  hath  loved  her  so  much.  When  we  see 
there  the*  poverty  of  this  wandering  little  hermit,  who 
remains  in  that  cold  cave,  without  fire,  with  a  manger 
for  a  crib,  and  a  little  straw  for  a  bed;  when  we  hear 
the  cries,  and  behold  the  tears  of  this  innocent  Child, 
and  consider  that  he  is  our  God, — how  is  it  possible  to 
think  of  anything  but  of  loving  him  !  Oh,  what  a  sweet 
hermitage  for  a  soul  that  has  faith  in  the  stable  of 
Bethlehem  ! 

Let  us  also  imitate  Mary  and  Joseph,  who,  burning 
with  love,  remain  contemplating  the  great  Son  of  God 
clothed  in  flesh,  and  made  subject  to  earthly  miseries, — 
Wisdom  become  an  infant  that  cannot  speak, — the  Great 
One  become  little, — the  Supreme  One  become  so  abased, 
— the  Rich  One  become  so  poor, — the  Omnipotent  so 
weak.  In  short,  let  us  meditate  on  the  divine  majesty 
shrouded  beneath  the  form  of  a  little  Infant,  despised 
and  forsaken  by  the  world,  and  who  does  and  suffers 
everything  in  order  to  make  himself  loved  by  men,  and 
let  us  beseech  him  to  admit  us  into  this  sacred  retreat; — 
there  stop,  there  remain,  and  never  leave  it  again.  "O 
solitude,"  says  St.  Jerome,  "  in  which  God  speaks  and 
converses  familiarly  with  his  servants;"  2  O  beautiful  soli 
tude,  in  which  God  speaks  and  converses  with  his 
chosen  souls,  not  as  a  sovereign,  but  as  a  friend,  as  a 
brother,  as  a  spouse!  Oh,  what  a  paradise  it  is  to  converse 
alone  with  the  Infant  Jesus  in  the  little  grotto  of  Beth 
lehem  ! 

1  "  Ducam  earn  in  solitudinem,  et  loquar  ad  cor  ejus." — Os.  ii.   14. 

2  "O  solitude,  in  qua  Deus  cum  suis  familiariter  loquitur  etconver- 
satur !" 


260  Ninth  Meditation. 


Affections  and  Prayers. 

My  dearest  Saviour,  Thou  art  the  King  of  Heaven,  the  King 
of  kings,  the  Son  of  God  ;  and  how  is  it,  then,  that  •!  see  Thee 
in  this  cave,  forsaken  by  all  ?  I  see  no  one  assisting  Thee  but 
Joseph  and  Thy  holy  Mother.  I  desire  to  unite  myself  also  to 
them  in  keeping  Thee  company.  Do  not  reject  me.  I  do  not 
deserve  it;  but  I  feel  that  Thou  dost  invite  me  by  Thy  sweet 
voice,  speaking  to  my  heart.  Yes,  I  come,  O  my  beloved 
Infant !  I  will  leave  all  things  to  pass  my  whole  life  alone  with 
Thee,  my  dear  little  hermit,  the  only  love  of  my  soul.  Fool  that 
I  was,  I  have  hitherto  forsaken  Thee  and  left  Thee  alone,  O  my 
Jesus,  whilst  I  was  seeking  miserable  and  empoisoned  pleasures 
from  creatures ;  but  now,  enlightened  by  Thy  grace,  I  desire 
nothing  but  to  live  in  solitude  with  Thee,  who  didst  will  to  live 
Thyself  in  solitude  on  this  earth  :  Who  will  give  me  wings  like 
a  dove,  and  I  will  fly  and  be  at  rest  ?  1  Ah,  who  will  enable  me 

to  fly  from  this  world,  where  I  have  so  often  found  my  ruin, 

to  fly,  and  to  come  and  remain  always  with  Thee,  who  art  the 
joy  of  paradise  and  the  true  lover  of  my  soul  ?  Oh,  bind  me,  I 
pray  Thee,  to  Thy  feet,  so  that  I  may  no  longer  be  separated  from 
Thee,  but  may  find  my  happiness  in  continually  keeping  company 
with  Thee  !  Ah,  by  the  merits  of  Thy  solitude  in  the  cave  of 
Bethlehem,  give  me  a  constant  interior  recollection,  so  that  my 
soul  may  become  a  solitary  little  cell,  where  I  may  attend  to 
nothing  but  to  conversing  with  Thee ;  where  I  may  take  coun 
sel  with  Thee  in  all  my  thoughts  and  all  my  actions  ;  where  I 
may  dedicate  to  Thee  all  my  affections  ;  where  I  may  always 
love  Thee,  and  sigh  to  leave  the  prison  of  this  body  to  come 
and  love  Thee  face  to  face  in  heaven.  I  love  Thee,  O  infi 
nite  Goodness,  and  I  hope  always  to  love  Thee,  in  time  and  in 
eternity.  O  Mary,  thou  who  canst  do  all  things,  pray  to  him 
to  enchain  me  with  his  love,  and  not  to  permit  me  ever  again 
to  lose  his  grace. 

"  Quis  dabit  mihi  pennas  sicut  columbae,    et  volabo,   et  requi- 
— /v.  liv.  7. 


The  Festival  of  Christmas.  261 


MEDITATION  X. 
JANUARY  3. 

The  Occupations  of  the  Infant  Jesus   in  the   Stable  of  Beth 
lehem. 

There  are  two  principal  occupations  of  a  solitary, — to 
pray,  and  to  do  penance.  Behold  the  Infant  Jesus  in 
the  little  grotto  of  Bethlehem  giving  us  the  example. 
He,  in  the  crib  which  he  chose  for  his  oratory  upon  earth, 
never  ceases  to  pray,  and  to  pray  continually,  to  the 
Eternal  Father.  There  he  constantly  makes  acts  of 
adoration,  of  love,  and  of  prayer. 

Before  this  time  the  divine  Majesty  had  been,  it  is 
true,  adored  by  men  and  by  angels;  but  God  had  not 
received  from  all  these  creatures  that  honor  which  the 
Infant  Jesus  gave  him  by  adoring  him  in  the  stable 
where  he  was  born.  Let  us,  therefore,  constantly  unite 
our  adorations  to  those  of  Jesus  Christ  when  he  was 
upon  this  earth. 

Oh,  how  beautiful  and  perfect  were  the  acts  of  love 
which  the  Incarnate  Word  made  to  his  Father  in  his 
prayer  !  God  had  given  to  man  the  commandment  to 
love  him  with  all  his  heart  and  all  his  strength;  but  this 
precept  had  never  been  perfectly  fulfilled  by  any  man. 
The  first  to  accomplish  it  amongst  women  was  Mary, 
and  amongst  men  the  first  was  Jesus  Christ,  who  ful 
filled  it  in  a  degree  infinitely  superior  to  Mary.  The 
love  of  the  seraphim  may  be  said  to  be  cold  in  compari 
son  with  the  love  of  this  Holy  Infant.  Let  us  learn 
from  him  to  love  the  Lord  our  God  as  he  ought  to  be 
loved;  and  let  us  beseech  him  to  communicate  to  us  a 
spark  of  that  pure  love  with  which  he  loved  the  divine 
Father  in  the  stable  of  Bethlehem. 

Oh,  how  beautiful,  perfect,  and  dear  to  God  were  the 


262  Tenth  Meditation. 

prayers  of  the  Infant  Jesus  !  At  every  moment  he 
prayed  to  his  Father,  and  his  prayers  were  all  for  us  and 
for  each  one  of  us  in  particular.  All  the  graces  that 
each  one  of  us  has  received  from  the  Lord,  and  our  being 
called  to  the  true  faith,  our  having  had  time  given  us 
for  repentance,  the  lights,  the  sorrow  for  sins,  the  par 
don  of  them,  the  holy  desires,  the  victory  over  tempta 
tions,  and  all  the  other  good  acts  that  we  have  made,  or 
shall  make,  of  confidence,  of  humility,  of  love,  of  thanks 
giving,  of  offering,  of  resignation, — all  these  Jesus  has 
obtained  for  us,  and  all  has  been  the  effect  of  the  prayers 
of  Jesus.  Oh,  how  much  do  we  owe  him  !  and  how 
much  ought  we  not  to  thank  him  and  to  love  him  ! 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

My  dear  Redeemer,  how  much  do  I  owe  Thee  !  If  Thou 
hadst  not  prayed  for  me,  in  what  a  state  of  ruin  should  I  find 
myself!  I  thank  Thee,  O  my  Jesus;  Thy  prayers  have  obtained 
for  me  the  pardon  of  my  sins,  and  I  hope  that  they  will  also 
obtain  for  me  perseverance  unto  death.  Thou  hast  prayed  for 
me,  and  I  bless  Thee  with  my  whole  heart  for  it ;  but  I  beseech 
Thee  not  to  leave  off  praying.  I  know  that  Thou  dost  continue 
even  in  heaven  to  be  our  advocate  :  We  have  an  advocate,  Jesus 
Christ;1  and  I  know  that  Thou  dost  continue  to  pray  for  us: 
Who  also  maketh  intercession  for  its.'2'  Continue  therefore  to 
pray;  but  pray,  O  my  Jesus,  more  particularly  for  me,  who  am 
more  in  want  of  Thy  prayers.  I  hope  God  has  already  pardoned 
me  through  Thy  merits  ;  but  as  I  have  already  so  often  fallen,  I 
may  therefore  fall  again.  Hell  does  not  cease,  and  will  not 
cease,  to  tempt  me,  in  order  to  make  me  again  lose  Thy  friend 
ship.  Ah,  my  Jesus,  Thou  art  my  hope  ;  it  is  Thou  that  must 
give  me  fortitude  to  resist ;  from  Thee  I  seek  it,  and  of  Thee  I 
hope  for  it!  But  I  will  not  content  myself  only  with  the  grace 
not  to  fall  again  ;  I  desire  also  the  grace  to  love  Thee  exceeding- 

"  Advocatum  habemus  apud  Patrem,  Jesum  Christum." — i  John, 


ii.  i. 


Qui  etiam  interpellat  pro  nobis." — Rom.  viii.  34. 


The  Festival  of  Christmas.  263 

ly.  My  death  approaches.  If  I  were  to  die  now,  I  should  in 
deed  hope  to  be  saved  ;  but  I  should  love  Thee  but  little  in 
paradise,  because  I  have  hitherto  loved  Thee  so  little.  I  will 
love  Thee  much  in  the  days  that  remain  to  me,  that  I  may  love 
Thee  still  more  in  eternity.  O  Mary,  my  Mother !  do  thou  also 
pray,  and  beseech  Jesus  for  me ;  thy  prayers  are  all-powerful 
with  thy  Son,  who  loves  thee  so  much.  Thou  dost  so  much 
desire  that  he  should  be  loved,  beseech  him  to  give  me  a  great 
love  for  his  goodness,  and  let  this  love  be  constant  and  eternal. 


MEDITATION  XI. 

JANUARY  4. 
The  Poverty  of  the  Infant  Jesus. 

O  God  !  who  would  not  feel  compassion  if  he  saw  a 
little  prince,  the  son  of  a  monarch,  born  in  such  poverty 
as  to  be  left  to  lie  in  a  damp,  cold  cavern,  not  having 
bed,  servants,  fire,  or  clothes  sufficient  to  warm  him  ? 
Ah,  my  Jesus,  Thou  art  the  Son  of  the  Lord  of  heaven 
and  earth,  and  yet  Thou  liest  in  this  cold  grotto  without 
other  cradle  than  a  manger,  with  nothing  but  straw  for 
Thy  bed,  and  miserable  rags  to  cover  Thee.  The  angels 
stand  round  Thee  and  sing  Thy  praises,  but  they  do  not 
relieve  Thy  poverty.  My  dear  Redeemer,  the  poorer 
Thou  art,  the  more  amiable  Thou  dost  render  Thyself 
in  our  eyes,  because  Thou  bast  embraced  so  great  a 
poverty  for  this  end,  to  make  us  love  Thee  more.  If 
Thou  hadst  been  born  in  a  palace,  if  Thou  hadst  had  'a 
cradle  of  gold,  if  Thou  hadst  been  assisted  by  the  first 
princes  of  the  earth,  Thou  wouldst  have  acquired  more 
respect  from  men,  but  less  love;  but  this  stable  where 
Thou  dost  sleep,  these  miserable  rags  that  cover  Thee, 
chis  straw  that  serves  as  Thy  bed,  this  manger  that  is  Thy 
only  cradle, — oh,  how  do  they  attract  our  souls  to  love 
Thee,  because  Thou  hast  made  Thyself  thus  poor  in 
order  to  become  more  dear  to  us!  "  The  viler  he  was  for 


264  Eleventh  Meditation. 

me,"  says  St.  Bernard,  "the  dearer  he  is  to  me."  Thou 
hast  made  Thyself  poor  to  enrich  us  with  Thy  riches; 
that  is,  with  grace  and  glory:  He  became  poor,  that  through 
His  poverty  you  might  be  rich. 2 

The  poverty  of  Jesus  Christ  was  for  us  great  riches, 
inasmuch  as  it  moves  us  to  acquire  the  treasures  of  heav 
en  and  to  despise  those  of  earth.  Ah,  my  Jesus  !  this 
Thy  poverty  has  induced  so  many  saints  to  leave  all- 
riches,  honors,  and  kingdoms — in  order  to  become  poor 
with  Thee!  Oh,  detach  me  also,  my  Saviour,  from  all 
affection  to  earthly  goods,  so  that  I  may  be  made  worthy 
to  acquire  Thy  holy  love,  and  thus  to  possess  Thee,  who 
art  the  infinite  Good  ! 


Affections  and  Prayers. 

Oh  that  I  also  could  say  to  Thee,  O  holy  Infant,  with  thy 
dear  St.  Francis,  "  My  God  and  my  All !"  3  and  with  David,  What 
have  I  in  heaven  ?  and  besides  Thee,  what  do  I  desire  upon  earth  ? 
.  .  .  God  of  my  heart,  and  the  God  that  is  my  portion  forever  ;4  so 
that  from  this  day  forth  I  might  desire  no  other  riches  but  those 
of  Thy  love,  and  that  my  heart  might  be  no  more  under  the 
dominion  of  the  vanities  of  the  world,  but  that  Thou  alone,  my 
love,  mightest  be  its  only  Lord.  But  I  even  now  wish  to  begin 
to  say  it :  God  of  my  heart,  and  the  God  that  is  my  portion  for. 
ever?  Miserable  that  I  was,  I  have  hitherto  only  sought  after 
worldly  goods,  and  have  found  nothing  but  thorns  and  gall.  I 
feel  more  satisfaction  at  finding  myself  at  Thy  feet,  to  thank 
Thee  and  love  Thee,  than  I  have  ever  experienced  from  all  my 
sins.  One  fear  alone  afflicts  me — the  fear  that  Thou  hast  not 
yet  forgiven  me;  but  Thy  promises  of  forgiveness  to  the  peni- 

1  "  Quanto  pro  me  vilior,  tanto  mihi  carior  !" — In  Epiph.  s.  i. 

2  "Egenus  factus  est  .  .   .  ,  ut  illius  inopia  vos  divites  essetis." — 
2,  Cor.  viii.  9. 

3  "  Deus  meus,  et  omnia  !" 

4  "  Quid  enim  mihi  est  in  coelo  ?  et   a  te  quid  volui  super  terram  ? 
.  .  .  Deus  cordis  mei,  et  pars  mea,  Deus,  in  aeternum  !" — Ps.  Ixxii.  25. 

6  "  Deus  cordis  mei,  et  pars  mea,  Deus,  in  aeternum  !" 


The  Festival  of  Christmas.  265 

tent,  the  thought  that  Thou  didst  make  Thyself  poor  for  the 
love  of  me,  that  Thou  art  still  calling  me  to  love  Thee;  the 
tears,  the  blood  Thou  hast  shed  for  me,  the  sorrows,  the  igno 
miny,  the  bitter  death  Thou  hast  endured  for  me,— all  console 
me/and  make  me  hope  certainly  for  pardon.  And  supposing 
Thou  hast  not  forgiven  me,  what  shall  I  then  do?  Dost  Thou 
desire  that  I  should  repent  ?  I  repent  with  my  whole  heart  of 
having  offended  Thee,  O  my  Jesus!  Dost  Thou  desire  that  I 
should  love  Thee  ?  I  love  Thee  more  than  myself.  Dost  Thou 
desire  that  I  should  give  up  everything?  Behold,  I  give  up  all 
and  give  myself  to  Thee;  and  I  know  that  Thou  dost  accept 
me,  otherwise  I  should  not  have  sorrow,  nor  love,  nor  the  de 
sire  to  give  myself  to  Thee.  I  give  myself  then  to  Thee,  and 
Thou  hast  already  accepted  me.  I  love  Thee,  and  Thou  dost 
also  love  me.  Do  not  permit  that  this  love  between  Thee  and 
me  should  evermore  be  interrupted.  O  my  Mother  Mary!  do 
thou  obtain  for  me  the  grace  that  I  may  always  love  Jesus,  and 
that  I  may  always  be  loved  by  him  ! 

MEDITATION  XII. 

JANUARY    5. 

The  Abasement  of  Jesus.* 

The  eternal  Word  descends  on  earth  to  save  man;  and 
whence  does  he  descend?  His  going  out  is  from  the  end 
of  heaven.1  He  descends  from  the  bosom  of  his  divine 
Father,  where  from  eternity  he  was  begotten  in  the 
brightness  of  the  saints.  And  where  does  he  descend? 
He  descends  into  the  womb  of  a  virgin,  a  child  of  Adam, 
which  in  comparison  with  the  bosom  of  God  is  an  object 
of  horror;  wherefore  the  Church  sings,  ''Thou  didst  not 
abhor  the  Virgin's  womb."2  Yes,  because  the  Word, 
being  in  the  bosom  of  the  Father,  is  God  like  the  Father 
— is  immense,  omnipotent,  most  blessed  and  supreme 
Lord,  and  equal  in  everything  to  the  Father.  But  in 
the  womb  of  Mary  he  is  a  creature,  small,  weak,  afflicted, 

1  "A  summo  coelo  egressio  ejus." — Ps.  xviii.  7. 

2  "  Non  horruisti  virginis  uterum." 

*  This  meditation  is  the  same  as  Meditation  V.,  for  the  first  Thurs 
day  of  Advent,  p.  182. 


266  Twelfth  Meditation. 

a  servant  inferior  to  the  Father,  Taking  the  form  of  a  ser- 
vant.1 

It   is   related   as   a   great  prodigy   of   humility   in  St. 
Alexis   that,  although   he  was   the   son  of  a  Roman  gen- 
tleman,  he  chose  to  live  as  a  servant  in  his  father's  house. 
But   how  is   the   humility  of  this  saint  to  be  compared 
with  the  humility  of  Jesus  Christ  ?    Between  the  son  and 
the  servant   of  the   father  of  St.  Alexis   there  was,  it  is 
true,  some  difference;  but  between  God  and  the  servant 
of  God  there  is  an  infinite  difference.     Besides,  this  Son 
of  God  having  become  the  servant  of  his  Father  in  obe 
dience   to   him,   made   himself   also    the    servant    of    his 
creatures;  that  is  to  say,  of  Mary  and  Joseph:  And  he  was 
subject  to  them?     Moreover,  he  made  himself  even  a  ser 
vant  of  Pilate,  who  condemned  him  to  death,  and  he  was 
obedient  to  him,  and  accepted   it;   he  became  a  servant 
to   the   executioners,  who  scourged    him,  crowned    him 
with  thorns,  and  crucified   him:  and   he  humbly  obeyed 
them  all,  and  yielded  himself  into  their  hands. 

O  God  !  and  shall  we,  after  this,  refuse  to  submit  our 
selves  to  the  service  of  so  loving  a  Saviour,  who,  to  save 
us,  has  subjected  himself  to  so  painful  and  degrading  a 
slavery?  And  rather  than  be  the  servants  of  this  so 
great  and  so  loving  a  Lord,  shall  we  be  content  to  be 
slaves  of  the  devil,  who  does  not  love  his  servants,  but 
hates  them  and  treats  them  like  a  tyrant,  making  them 
miserable  and  wretched  in  this  world  and  in  the  next? 
But  if  we  have  been  guilty  of  this  great  folly,  why  do  we 
not  quickly  give  up  this  unhappy  servitude  ?  Courage, 
then,  since  we  have  been  delivered  by  Jesus  Christ  from 
the  slavery  of  hell;  let  us  now  embrace  and  bind  around 
us  with  love  those  sweet  chains,  which  will  render  us 
servants  and  lovers  of  Jesus  Christ,  and  hereafter  obtain 
for  us  the  crown  of  the  eternal  kingdom  amongst  the 
blessed  in  Paradise. 

"  For  mam  servi  accipens." — Phil.  ii.  7. 
"  Et  erat  subditus  illis." — Luke,  ii.  51. 


The  Festival  of  Christmas.  267 


Affections  and  Prayers. 

My  beloved  Jesus,  Thou  art  the  Sovereign  of  heaven  and 
earth ;  but  for  the  iove  of  me  Thou  hast  made  Thyself  a  servant 
even  of  the  executioners  who  tore  Thy  flesh,  pierced  Thy  head, 
and  finally  left  Thee  nailed  on  the  cross  to  die  of  sorrow.  I 
adore  Thee  as  my  God  and  Lord,  and  I  am  ashamed  to  appear 
before  Thee  when  I  remember  how  often,  for  the  sake  of  some 
miserable  pleasure,  I  have  broken  Thy  holy  bonds,  and  have 
told  Thee  to  Thy  face  that  I  would  not  serve  Thee.  Ah,  Thou 
mayest  justly  reproach  me  :  Thou  hast  burst  my  bands,  and  Thou 
saidst :  I  will  not  serve.1  But  still,  O  my  Saviour,  Thy  merits 
and  Thy  goodness,  which  cannot  despise  a  heart  that  repents 
and  humbles  itself,  give  me  courage  to  hope  for  pardon  :  A  con 
trite  and  humble  heart,  O  God,  Thou  wilt  not  despise."1  I  confess, 
my  Jesus,  that  I  have  offended  Thee  greatly;  I  confess  that  I 
deserve  a  thousand  hells  for  the  sins  that  I  have  committed 
against  Thee ;  chasten  me  as  Thou  seest  fit,  but  do  not  deprive 
me  of  Thy  grace  and  love.  I  repent  above  every  other  evil  for 
having  despised  Thee.  I  love  Thee  with  my  whole  heart.  I 
propose  from  this  day  forth  to  desire  to  serve  Thee  and  love 
Thee  alone.  I  pray  Thee  bind  me  by  Thy  merits  with  the 
chains  of  Thy  holy  love,  and  never  suffer  that  I  see  myself  re 
leased  from  them  again.  I  love  Thee  above  everything,  O  my 
Deliverer,  and  I  would  prefer  being  Thy  servant  to  being  master 
of  the  whole  world.  And  of  what  avail  would  all  the  world  be 
to  him  who  lives  deprived  of  Thy  grace  ?  My  sweetest  Jesus, 
permit  me  not  to  separate  myself  from  Thee,  permit  me  not  to 
separate  myself  from  T/iee.3  This  grace  I  ask  of  Thee,  and  I 
intend  always  to  ask  it ;  and  I  beg  of  Thee  to  grant  me  this  day 
the  grace  to  repeat  continually  to  the  end  of  my  life  this  prayer  : 
My  Jesus,  grant  that  I  may  never  again  separate  myself  from 
Thy  love.  I  ask  this  favor  of  thee  also,  O  Mary,  my  Mother  : 
help  me  by  thy  intercession,  that  I  may  never  separate  myself 
again  from  my  God. 

1  "  Rupisti  vincula  mea,  et  dixisti:  Non  serviam."— Jer.  ii.  20. 

2  "  Cor  contritum  et  humiliatum,  Deus,  non  despicies." — Isa.  \..  19. 

3  "  Jesu  dulcissime  !  ne  permittas  me  separari  a  te;  ne  permittas 
me  separari  a  te." 


268  Octave  of  the  Epiphany. 


ittebitations  far  tfje  ®eta»e  of  tlje 

MEDITATION  I. 

JANUARY  6. 
The  Adoration  of  the  Magi. 

Jesus  is  born  poor  in  a  stable;  the  angels  of  heaven  in 
deed  acknowledge  him,  but  men  abandon  and  forsake 
him  on  earth.  Only  a  few  shepherds  come  and  pay  him 
homage.  But  our  Redeemer  was  desirous  of  communi 
cating  to  us  the  grace  of  his  redemption,  and  begins 
therefore  to  manifest  himself  to  the  Gentiles,  who  knew 
him  least.  Therefore  he  sends  a  star  to  enlighten  the 
holy  Magi,  in  order  that  they  may  come  and  acknow 
ledge  and  adore  their  Saviour.  This  was  the  first  and 
sovereign  grace  bestowed  upon  us, — our  vocation  to  the 
faith;  which  was  succeeded  by  our  vocation  to  grace,  of 
which  men  were  deprived. 

Behold  the  wise  men,  who  immediately,  without  delay, 
set  off  upon  their  journey.  The  star  accompanies  them 
as  far  as  the  cavern  where  the  holy  Infant 'lies:  on  their 
arrival  they  enter;  and  what  do  they  find  ?  They  found 
the  child  with  Mary.1  They  find  a  poor  maiden  and  a 
poor  Infant  wrapped  in  poor  swaddling-clothes,  without 
any  one  to  attend  on  him  or  assist  him.  But,  lo  !  on  en 
tering  into  the  little  shed  these  holy  pilgrims  feel  a  joy 
which  they  had  never  felt  before;  they  feel  their  hearts 
chained  to  the  dear  little  Infant  which  they  behold.  The 
straw,  the  poverty,  the  cries  of  their  little  Saviour, — oh, 
what  darts  of  love  !  oh,  what  blessed  flames  are  they  to 

1  "  Invenerunt  puerum  cum  Maria." — Matt.  ii.  n. 


First  Meditation.  269 

their  enlightened  hearts  !  The  Infant  looks  upon  them 
with  a  joyful  countenance,  and  this  is  the  mark  of  affec 
tion  with  which  he  accepts  them  amongst  the  first-fruits 
of  his  redemption. 

The  holy  kings  then  look  at  Mary,  who  does  not  speak 
— she  remains  silent;  but  with  her  blessed  countenance 
that  breathes  the  sweetness  of  paradise  she  welcomes 
them,  and  thanks  them  for  having  been  the  first  to  come 
and  acknowledge  her  son  (as  indeed  he  is)  for  their 
Sovereign  Lord.  See  also  how,  out  of  reverence,  they 
adore  him  in  silence,  and  acknowledge  him  for  their  God, 
kissing  his  feet,  and  offering  him  their  gifts  of  gold, 
frankincense,  and  myrrh.  Let  us  also  with  the  holy 
Magi  adore  our  little  King  Jesus,  and  let  us  offer  him  all 
our  hearts. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

O  amiable  Infant !  though  I  see  Thee  in  this  cavern  lying  on 
straw  poor  and  despised,  yet  faith  teaches  me  that  Thou  art  my 
God,  who  earnest  down  from  heaven  for  my  salvation.  I  ac 
knowledge  Thee,  then,  for  my  sovereign  Lord  and  Saviour;  but 
I  have  nothing,  alas  !  to  offer  Thee.  I  have  no  gold  of  love,  be 
cause  I  have  loved  creatures  ;  I  have  loved  my  own  caprices,  but 
I  have  not  loved  Thee,  O  amiable  infinite  One  !  I  have  not  the 
incense  of  prayer,  because  I  have  lived  in  a  miserable  state  of 
forgetfulness  of  Thee.  I  have  no  myrrh  of  mortification,  for  I 
have  often  displeased  Thy  infinite  goodness  that  I  might  not 
be  deprived  of  my  miserable  pleasures.  What  then  shall  I  offer 
Thee  ?  I  offer  Thee  my  heart,  filthy  and  poor  as  it  is  ;  do  Thou 
accept  it,  and  change  it.  Thou  earnest  into  the  world  for  this 
purpose,  to  wash  the  hearts  of  men  from  their  sins  by  Thy  blood, 
and  thus  change  them  from  sinners  into  saints.  Give  me,  there 
fore,  I  pray  Thee,  this  gold,  this  incense,  and  this  myrrh.  Give  me 
the  gold  of  Thy  holy  love;  give  me  the  spirit  of  holy  prayer, 
give  me  the  desire  and  strength  to  mortify  myself  in  everything 
that  displeases  Thee.  I  am  resolved  to  obey  Thee  and  to  love 
Thee  ;  but  Thou  knowest  my  weakness,  oh,  give  me  the  grace  to 
be  faithful  to  Thee  !  Most  holy  Virgin,  thou  who  didst  welcome 


270  Octave  of  the  Epiphany. 

with  such  affection  and  didst  console  the  holy  Magi,  do  thou 
welcome  and  console  me  also,  who  come  to  visit  thy  Son  and  to 
offer  myself  to  him.  O  my  Mother,  I  have  great  confidence  in 
thy  intercession  !  Do  thou  recommend  me  to  Jesus.  To  thee 
do  I  intrust  my  soul  and  my  will ;  bind  it  forever  to  the  love  of 
Jesus ! 

MEDITATION  II. 

JANUARY  7. 
The  Presentation  of  Jesus  in  the  Temple. 

The  time  having  now  come  when,  according  to  the 
law,  Mary  had  to  go  to  the  Temple  for  her  purification, 
and  to  present  Jesus  to  the  divine  Father,  behold  she 
sets  out  in  company  witli  Joseph.  Joseph  carries  the 
two  turtle-doves  that  they  are  to  offer  to  God,  and  Mary 
carries  her  dear  Infant:  she  takes  the  Lamb  of  God  to 
offer  him  to  the  Almighty,  in  token  of  the  great  sacrifice 
that  this  Son  should  one  day  accomplish  on  the  cross. 

Consider  the  holy  Virgin  entering  the  Temple;  she 
makes  an  oblation  of  her  Son  on  the  part  of  the  whole 
human  race,  and  says:  Behold,  O  Eternal  Father,  Thy 
beloved  only-begotten  One,  who  is  Thy  Son  and  mine 
also;  I  offer  him  to  Thee  as  a  victim  to  Thy  divine 
justice,  in  order  to  appease  Thy  wrath  against  sinners. 
Accept  him,  O  God  of  mercy  !  have  pity  on  our  miseries; 
for  the  love  of  this  immaculate  Lamb  do  Thou  receive 
men  into  Thy  grace. 

The  offering  of  Mary  is  joined  to  that  of  Jesus.  Be 
hold  me  (says  also  the  holy  Infant),  behold  me,  O  My 
Father;  to  Thee  do  I  consecrate  my  whole  life;  Thou 
hast  sent  me  into  the  world  to  save  it  by  my  blood;  be 
hold  my  blood  and  my  whole  self.  I  offer  myself  entirely 
to  Thee  for  the  salvation  of  the  world.  He  delivered 
Himself  .  .  .  an  oblation  and  a  sacrifice  to  God.1 

1  "  Tradidit  semetipsum  pro  nobis  oblationem  et  hostiam  Deo."— 
Eph.  v.  a. 


Second  Meditation.  271 

No  sacrifice  was  ever  so  acceptable  to  God  as  this 
which  his  dear  Son  then  made  to  him;  who  had  become, 
even  from  his  irJancy,  a  victim  and  priest.  If  all  men 
and  angels  had  offered  their  lives,  their  oblation  could 
not  have  been  so  dear  to  God  as  was  this  of  Jesus  Christ, 
because  in  this  offering  alone  the  Eternal  Father  received 
infinite  honor  and  infinite  satisfaction. 

If  Jesus  offers  his  life  to  his  Father  for  the  love  of  us, 
it  is  just  that  we  should  offer  him  our  life  and  our  entire 
being.  This  is  what  he  desires,  as  he  signified  to  the 
blessed  Angela  da  Foligno,  saying  to  her,  "  I  have  offered 
myself  for  thee,  in  order  that  thou  shouldest  offer  thyself 
to  me." 

Affections  and  Prayers, 

Eternal  Father,  I,  a  miserable  sinner,  who  have  deserved  a 
thousand  hells,  present  myself  this  day  before  Thee,  O  God  of 
infinite  majesty,  and  I  offer  Thee  my  poor  heart.  But,  O  God, 
what  a  heart  is  it  that  I  offer  Thee?— a  heart  that  has  never 
known  how  to  love  Thee,  but  has,  on  the  contrary,  so  often 
offended  Thee  and  so  often  betrayed  Thee  ;  but  now  I  offer  it 
to  Thee  full  of  penitence,  and  resolved  to  love  Thee  at  all  costs 
and  to  obey  Thee  in  all  things.  Pardon  me,  and  draw  me  en 
tirely  to  Thy  love.  I  do  not  deserve  to  be  heard  ;  but  Thy  in 
fant  Son,  who  offers  himself  to  Thee  in  the  Temple  as  a  sacri 
fice  for  my  salvation,  merits  for  me  this  grace.  I  offer  Thee  this 
Thy  Son  and  his  sacrifice,  and  in  this  I  place  all  my  hopes.  I 
thank  Thee,  O  my  Father,  for  having  sent  him  upon  the  earth 
to  sacrifice  himself  for  me.  And  I  bless  Thee,  O  Incarnate 
Word,  Lamb  of  God,  who  didst  offer  Thyself  to  die  for  my  soul. 
I  love  Thee,  my  dear  Redeemer,  and  Thee  alone  will  I  love; 
for  I  find  none  but  Thee  that  has  offered  and  sacrificed  his  life 
to  save  me.  It  makes  me  shed  tears  to  think  how  grateful  I 
have  been  to  others  and  how  ungrateful  to  Thee  alone ;  but 
Thou  wiliest  not  my  death,  but  that  I  should  be  converted  and 
live.  Yes,  my  Jesus,  I  turn  to  Thee,  and  repent  with  my  whole 
heart  of  having  offended  Thee,  and  of  having  offended  my  God, 
who  has  thus  sacrificed  himself  for  me.  Do  Thou  give  me 


272  Octave  of  the  Epiphany. 

iife,  and  that  life  shall  consist  in  loving  Thee,  the  sovereign 
Good  ;  make  me  love  Thee,  I  ask  Thee  nothing  more.  Mary, 
my  Mother,  thou  didst  offer  at  that  time  thy  Son  in  the  Temple 
even  for  me ;  do  thou  offer  him  again  for  me  ;  and  beseech  the 
Eternal  Father,  for  the  love  of  Jesus,  to  accept  me  for  his  own. 
And  thou,  my  Queen,  do  thou  also  accept  me  for  thy  perpetual 
servant.  If  I  am  thy  servant,  I  shall  also  be  the  servant  of  thy 
Son. 

MEDITATION  III. 

JANUARY  8. 
The  Flight  of  Jesus  into  Egypt. 

The  angel  appeared  to  St.  Joseph  in  a  dream,  and  in 
formed  him  that  Herod  was  seeking  the  Infant  Jesus  to 
destroy  his  life;  wherefore  he  said,  Arise,  and  take  the 
Child  and  His  Mother,  and  fly  into  Egypt.1  Behold,  then, 
how  Jesus  is  no  sooner  born  than  he  is  persecuted  unto 
death.  Herod  is  a  figure  of  those  miserable  sinners  who, 
as  soon  as  they  see  Jesus  Christ  born  again  in  their  souls 
by  the  pardon  of  sin,  persecute  him  to  death  by  return 
ing  to  their  sins:  They  seek  the  Child  to  destroy  Him? 

Joseph  immediately  obeys  the  command  of  the  angel 
without  delay,  and  gives  notice  of  it  to  his  holy  spouse. 
He  then  takes  the  few  tools  that  he  can  carry,  in  order 
to  make  use  of  them  in  his  trade,  and  to  be  able  in  Egypt 
to  support  his  poor  family.  Mary  at  the  same  time  puts 
together  a  little  bundle  of  clothes  for  the  use  of  the  holy 
Child;  and  then  she  goes  into  her  cell,  kneels  down  first 
before  her  Infant  Son,  kisses  his  feet,  and  then  with  tears 
of  tenderness  says  to  him,  O  my  Son  and  my  God,  hardly 
art  Thou  born  and  come  into  the  world  to  save  men, 
when  these  men  seek  Thee  to  put  Thee  to  death.  She 
then  takes  him;  and  the  two  holy  spouses,  shedding  tears 

1  "  Surge,  et  accipe  Puerum  et  Matrem  ejus  et  fuge  in  ^Egyptum." 
— Matt.  ii.  13. 

9  "Quserunt  Puerum  ad  perdendum  eum." 


Th  ird  M edit  a  tion.  273 

as  they  go,  shut  the  door,  and  the  same  night  set  out  on 
their  journey. 

Let  us  consider  the  occupations  of  these  holy  pilgrims 
during  their  journey.  All  their  conversation  is  upon 
their  dear  Jesus  alone,  on  his  patience  and  his  love;  and 
thus  they  console  themselves  in  the  midst  of  the  trials 
and  inconveniences  of  so  long  a  journey.  Oh,  how  sweet 
it  is  to  suffer  at.  the  sight  of  Jesus  suffering!  O  my  soul, 
says  St.  Bonaventure,  do  thou  also  keep  company  with 
these  three  poor  holy  exiles;  and  have  compassion  with 
them  in  the  long,  wearisome,  and  painful  journey  which 
they  are  making.  And  beseech  Mary  that  she  will  give 
thee  her  divine  Son  to  carry  in  thy  heart. 

Consider  how  much  they  must  have  suffered,  especially 
in  those  nights  which  they  had  to  pass  in  the  desert  of 
Egypt.  The  bare  earth  serves  them  for  a  bed  in  the  cold 
open  air.  The  Infant  weeps,  Mary  and  Joseph  shed  tears 
of  compassion.  O  holy  faith!  who  would  not  weep  at 
seeing  the  Son  of  God  become  an  infant,  poor  and  for 
saken,  flying  across  a  desert  in  order  to  escape  death? 


Affections  and  Prayers. 

My  dear  Jesus,  Thou  art  the  King  of  Heaven,  but  now  I  be 
hold  Thee  as  an  infant  wandering  over  the  earth ;  tell  me  whom 
art  Thou  in  search  of  ?  I  pity  Thee  when  I  see  Thee  so  poor 
and  humbled  ;  but  I  pity  Thee  more  when  I  see  Thee  treated 
with  such  ingratitude  by  those  same  men  whom  Thou  earnest  to 
save.  Thou  dost  weep ;  but  I  also  weep,  because  I  have  been 
one  of  those  who  in  times  past  have  despised  and  persecuted 
Thee.  But  now  I  value  Thy  grace  more  than  all  the  kingdoms 
of  the  world  ;  forgive  me,  O  my  Jesus!  all  the  evil  I  have  com 
mitted  against  Thee,  and  permit  me  to  carry  Thee  always  in 
my  heart  during  the  journey  of  my  life  to  eternity,  even  as  Mary 
carried  Thee  in  her  arms  during  the  flight  into  Egypt.  My  be 
loved  Redeemer,  I  have  many  times  driven  Thee  out  of  my  soul ; 
but  now  I  hope  that  Thou  hast  again  taken  possession  of  it.  I 
18 


2  74  Octave  of  the  Epiphany. 

beseech  Thee,  do  Thou  bind  it  to  Thyself  with  the  sweet  chains 
of  Thy  love.  I  will  never  again  drive  Thee  from  me.  But  I 
fear  lest  I  should  again  abandon  Thee,  as  I  have  done  in  past 
times.  O  my  Lord  !  let  me  die  rather  than  treat  Thee  with 
fresh  and  still  more  horrible  ingratitude.  I  love  Thee,  O  infinite 
Goodness ;  and  I  will  always  repeat  to  Thee,  I  love  Thee,  I  love 
Thee,  I  love  Thee;  and  so  I  hope  to  die  saying,  God  of  my 
heart,  and  the  God  that  art  my  portion  forever?  O  my  Jesus! 
Thou  art  so  good,  so  worthy  of  being  loved,  oh  do  Thou  make 
Thyself  loved  ;  make  Thyself  loved  by  all  the  sinners  who  perse 
cute  Thee ;  give  them  light,  make  them  know  the  love  Thou 
hast  borne  them  and  the  love  that  Thou  deservest  since  Thou 
goest  wandering  ahout  the  earth  as  a  poor  Infant,  weeping  and 
trembling  with  cold,  and  seeking  souls  to  love  Thee  !  O  Mary, 
most  holy  Virgin,  O  dearest  Mother  and  companion  of  the  suf 
ferings  of  Jesus,  do  thou  help  me  always  to  carry  and  preserve 
in  my  heart  thy  Son,  in  life  and  in  death  ! 


MEDITATION  IV. 

JANUARY  9. 
The  Dwelling  of  Jesus  in  Egypt. 

Jesus  chose  to  dwell  in  Egypt  during  his  infancy,  that 
he  might  lead  a  more  hard  and  abject  life.  According 
to  St.  Anselm  and  other  writers,  the  holy  family  lived  in 
Heliopolis.  Let  us  with  St.  Bonaventure  contemplate  the 
life  that  Jesus  led  during  the  seven  years  that  he  re 
mained  in  Egypt,  as  it  was  revealed  to  St.  Mary  Mag 
dalene  of  Pazzi. 

The  house  they  live  in  is  very  poor,  because  St.  Joseph 
has  but  little  wherewith  to  pay  rent;  their  bed  is  poor, 
their  food  poor;  their  life,  in  short,  is  one  of  strict  pov 
erty,  for  they  barely  gain  their  livelihood  day  by  day  by 
the  workci  their  hands,  and  they  live  in  a  country  where 

1  "  Deus  cordis  mei,  et  pars  mea,  Deus,  in  aeternum." — Ps. 
Ixxii.  26. 


Foiirth  Meditation.  275 

the}-  are  unknown  and  despised,  having  there  neither 
relatives  nor  friends. 

This  holy  family  does  indeed  live  in  great  poverty; 
but  oh,  how  well-ordered  are  the  occupations  of  these 
three  sojourners!  The  holy  Infant  speaks  not  with  his 
tongue;  but  in  his  heart  he  speaks  indeed  and  continually 
to  his  heavenly  Father,  applying  all  his  sufferings,  and 
every  moment  of  his  life,  for  our  salvation.  Neither  does 
Mary  speak;  but  at  the  sight  of  that  dear  Infant  she 
meditates  on  the  divine  love,  and  the  favor  that  God  has 
conferred  upon  her  by  choosing  her  for  his  Mother. 
Joseph  also  works  in  silence;  and  at  the  sight  of  the 
divine  Child  his  heart  is  inflamed,  while  he  thanks  him 
for  having  chosen  him  for  the  companion  and  guardian 
of  his  life. 

In  this  house  Mary  weans  Jesus:  at  first  she  fed  him 
from  her  breast,  now  she  feeds  him  with  her  hands; 
she  holds  him  on  her  lap,  takes  from  the  porringer  a  little 
bread  soaked  in  water,  and  then  puts  it  into  the  sacred 
mouth  of  her  Son.  In  this  house  Mary  made  her  Infant 
his  first  little  garment;  and  when  the  time  was  come,  she 
took  off  his  swaddling-clothes,  and  began  to  put  on  this 
vestment.  In  this  house  the  Child  Jesus  began  to  walk 
and  speak.  Let  us  adore  the  first  steps  that  the  Incar 
nate  Word  began  to  take  in  this  house,  and  the  first 
words  of  eternal  life  that  he  began  to  utter.  Here  he 
began  also  to  do  the  work  of  a  little  servant-boy,  occupy 
ing  himself  in  all  the  little  services  that  a  child  can 
render. 

Ah,  weaning  !  ah,  little  garment  !  ah,  first  steps  !  ah, 
lisping  words  !  ah,  little  services  of  the  little  Jesus,  how 
do  you  not  wound  and  inflame  the  hearts  of  those  who 
love  Jesus  and  meditate  on  you  !  Behold  a  God  trem 
bling  and  falling,  a  God  lisping,  a  God  become  so  weak 
that  he  can  occupy  himself  in  nothing  but  in  little  house 
hold  affairs,  and  unable  even  to  lift  a  bit  of  wood,  if  too 


2  76  Octave  of  the  Epiphany. 

heavy  for  the  strength  of  a  child  !  O  holy  faith,  enlighten 
us,  and  make  us  love  this  good  Lord,  who  for  the  love  of 
us  has  submitted  himself  to  so  many  miseries  !  It  is  said 
that  on  the  entrance  of  Jesus  into  Egypt  all  the  idols  of 
the  country  fell  down;  oh,  let  us  pray  to  God  that  he 
will  make  us  love  Jesus  from  our  hearts,  since  in  that 
soul  where  the  love  of  Jesus  enters,  all  the  idols  of 
earthly  affections  are  overthrown. 


Affections  and  Prayers. 

O  Holy  Infant,  who  livest  in  this  country  of  barbarians  poor, 
unknown,  and  despised,  I  acknowledge  Thee  for  my  God  and 
Saviour,  and  I  thank  Thee  for  all  the  humiliations  and  sufferings 
Thou  didst  endure  in  Egypt  for  the  love  of  me.  By  Thy  man 
ner  of  life  there  Thou  dost  teach  me  to  live  as  a  pilgrim  on  this 
earth,  giving  me  to  understand  that  this  is  not  my  country ;  but 
that  Paradise,  which  Thou  hast  purchased  for  me  by  Thy  death 
is  my  home.  Ah,  my  Jesus,  I  have  been  ungrateful  to  Thee 
because  I  have  thought  but  little  of  what  Thou  hast  done  and 
suffered  for  me.  When  I  think  that  Thou,  the  Son  of  God,  didst 
lead  a  life  of  such  tribulation  upon  this  earth,  so  poor  and 
neglected,  how  is  it  possible  that  I  should  go  about  seeking  the 
amusements  and  good  things  of  the  earth  ?  Take  me,  I  pray 
Thee,  my  dear  Redeemer,  for  Thy  companion  ;  admit  me  to 
live  always  united  with  Thee  upon  this  earth,  in  order  that 
united  with  Thee  in  heaven,  I  may  love  Thee  there,  and  be  Thy 
companion  throughout  eternity.  Give  me  light,  increase  my 
faith.  What  goods,  what  pleasures,  what  dignities,  what  honors  ! 
All  is  vanity  and  folly.  The  only  real  riches,  the  only  real  good, 
is  to  possess  Thee,  who  art  the  infinite  Good.  Blessed  he  who 
loves  Thee !  I  love  Thee,  O  my  Jesus,  and  I  seek  none  other 
but  Thee.  I  desire  Thee,  and  Thou  desirest  me.  If  I  had  a 
thousand  kingdoms,  I  would  renounce  them  all  to  please  Thee, 
"my  God  and  my  All."  1  If  in  times  past  I  have  sought  after 
the  vanities  and  pleasures  of  this  world,  I  now  detest  them,  and 
am  sorry  that  I  have  done  so.  My  beloved  Saviour,  from  this 

1  "  Deus  meus,  et  omnia," 


Fifth  Meditation.  277 

day  forward  Thou  shalt  be  my  only  delight,  my  only  love,  my 
only  treasure.  Most  holy  Mary,  pray  to  Jesus  for  me ;  beseech 
him  to  make  me  rich  in  his  love  alone,  and  I  desire  nothing 
else. 

MEDITATION   V. 

JANUARY  10. 
The  Return  of  Jesus  from  Egypt. 

After  the  death  of  Herod,  and  an  exile  of  seven  years, 
according  to  the  common  opinion  of  the  Doctors,  during 
which  time  Jesus  lived  in  Egypt,  the  angel  again  ap 
peared  to  St.  Joseph,  and  commanded  him  to  take  the 
Holy  Child  and  his  Mother  and  return  to  Palestine.  St. 
Joseph,  consoled  by  this  command,  communicates  it  to 
Mary.  Before  their  departure,  these  holy  spouses  cour 
teously  informed  the  friends  whom  they  had  made  in 
the  country.  Joseph  then  collects  the  few  instruments 
of  his  trade,  Mary  her  little  bundle  of  clothes,  and  taking 
by  the  hand  the  divine  Child,  they  set  out  on  their 
journey  homewards,  leading  him  between  them. 

St.  Bonaventure  considers  that  this  journey  was  more 
fatiguing  to  Jesus  than  was  the  flight  into  Egypt,  be 
cause  he  was  now  become  too  large  for  Mary  and  Joseph 
to  carry  him  much  in  their  arms  ;  but  at  the  same  time 
the  Holy  Child,  at  his  age,  was  not  able  to  make  a  long 
journey  ;  so  that  Jesus  was  obliged  through  fatigue  fre 
quently  to  stop  .and  rest  himself  on  the  way.  But  Joseph 
and  Mary,  whether  they  walk  or  sit,  always  keep  their 
eyes  and  thoughts  fixed  upon  the  beloved  little  Child, 
who  was  the  object  of  all  their  love.  Oh,  with  what  recol 
lection  does  that  happy  soul  travel  through  this  life  who 
keeps  before  its  eyes  the  love  and  the  examples  of  Jesus 
Christ! 

The  holy  pilgrims  interrupt  now  and  t«hen  tke  silence 
of  this  journey  by  some  holy  conversation;  but  with 


278  Octave  of  the  Epiphany. 

whom  and  of  whom  do  they  converse?  They  speak  only 
with  Jesus  and  of  Jesus.  He  who  has  Jesus  in  his  heart 
speaks  only  with  Jesus  or  only  speaks  of  him. 

Consider  again  the  pain  that  our  little  Saviour  must 
have  endured  during  the  nights  of  this  journey,  in  which 
he  had  no  longer  the  bosom  of  Mary  for  his  bed,  as  in 
his  flight,  but  the  bare  ground  ;  and  for  his  food  he  had 
no  more  milk,  but  a  little  hard  bread,  too  hard  for  his 
tender  age.  He  was  probably  also  afflicted  by  thirst  in 
this  desert,  in  which  the  Jews  had  been  in  such  want  of 
water  that  a  miracle  was  necessary  to  supply  them  with 
it.  Let  us  contemplate  and  lovingly  adore  all  these  suf 
ferings  of  the  Child  Jesus. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

Beloved  and  adored  Child,  Thou  dost  return  to  Thy  country; 
but  where,  O  God,  where  dost  Thou  return  ?  Thou  comest  to 
that  place  where  Thy  countrymen  prepare  for  Thee  insults  dur 
ing  life,  and  then  scourges,  thorns,  ignominy,  and  a  cross  at  Thy 
death.  But  all  was  already  present  to  Thy  divine  eyes,  O  my 
Jesus !  and  yet  Thou  comest  of  Thy  own  will  to  meet  that  Pas 
sion  which  men  prepare  for  Thee.  But,  my  Redeemer,  if  Thou 
hadst  not  come  to  die  for  me,  I  could  not  go  to  love  Thee  in 
Paradise,  but  must  have  always  remained  far  away  from  Thee. 
Thy  death  hath  been  my  salvation.  But  how  is  it,  Lord,  that 
by  despising  Thy  grace  I  have  again  condemned  myself  to  hell, 
even  after  Thy  death,  by  which  Thou  didst  deliver  me  from  it. 
I  acknowledge  that  hell  is  but  a  slight  punishment  for  me. 
But  Thou  hast  waited  to  pardon  me.  I  thank  Thee  for  it,  O 
my  Redeemer,  and  I  repent,  and  detest  all  the  offences  I  have 
committed  against  Thee.  O  Lord,  I  beseech  Thee,  deliver  me 
from  hell.  Ah,  if  I  were  miserable  enough  to  damn  myself, 
how  would  my  torments  in  hell  be  increased  by  the  remorse 
caused  by  my  having  meditated  during  myjife  on  the  love  that 
Thou  hast  borne  me  !  It  would  not  be  so  much  the  fire  of  hell 
as  Thy  love,  O  my  Jesus,  that  would  be  my  hell.  But  Thou 
didst  come  into  the  world  to  kindle  the  fire  of  Thy  holy  love; 
I  desire  to  burn  with  this  fire,  and  not  with  that  which  would 


Sixth  Meditation.  279 

keep  me  forever  separated  from  Thee.  I  repeat,  therefore,  O 
my  Jesus  !  deliver  me  from  hell,  because  in  hell  I  cannot  love 
Thee.  O  Mary,  my  Mother !  I  hear  it  everywhere  said  and 
preached  that  those  who  love  thee  and  trust  in  thee,  provided 
they  desire  to  amend  their  lives,  will  not  go  to  hell.  I  love  thee, 
my  Lady,  and  I  trust  in  thee ;  I  will  amend  my  life :  O  Mary, 
do  thou  remember  to  deliver  me  from  hell ! 

MEDITATION   VI. 

JANUARY  n. 
The  Dwelling  of  Jesus  at  Nazareth. 

St.  Joseph,  on  his  return  to  Palestine,  heard  that  Arche- 
laus  reigned  in  Judea  instead  of  his  father,  Herod,  where 
fore  he  was  afraid  to  go  and  live  there;  and  being 
warned  in  a  dream,  he  went  to  live  in  Nazareth,  a  city 
of  Galilee,  and  there  in  a  poor  little  cottage  he  fixed  his 
dwelling.  O  blessed  house  of  Nazareth,  I  salute  and 
venerate  you  !  There  will  come  a  time  when  you  will 
be  visited  by  the  great  ones  of  the  earth:  when  the  pil 
grims  find  themselves  inside  your  poor  walls,  they  will 
never  be  satisfied  with  shedding  tears-  of  tenderness  at 
the  thought  that  within  them  the  King  of  Paradise 
passed  nearly  all  his  life. 

In  this  house,  then,  the  Incarnate  Word  lived  during 
the  remainder  of  his  infancy  and  youth.  And  how  did 
he  live  ?  Poor  and  despised  by  men,  performing  the 
offices  of  a  common  working-boy,  and  obeying  Joseph 
and  Mary:  and  He  was  subject  to  them.1  O  God,  how 
touching  it  is  to  think  that  in  this  poor  house  the  Son  of 
God  lives  as  a  servant !  Now  he  goes  to  fetch  water; 
then  he  opens  or  shuts  the  shop;  now  he  sweeps  the 
room;  now  he  collects  the  shavings  for  the  fire;  now  he 
labors  in  assisting  Joseph  at  his  trade.  O  wonder  !  To 
see  a  God  sweeping !  A  God  serving  as  a  boy  !  O 

1  "  Et  erat  subditus  illis." — Luke,  ii.  51. 


280  Octave  of  the  Epiphany. 

thought  that  ought  to  make  us  all  burn  with  holy  love 
to  our  Redeemer,  who  has  reduced  himself  to  such  hu 
miliations  in  order  to  gain  our  love  ! 

Let  us  adore  all  these  servile  actions  of  Jesus,  which 
were  all  divine.  Let  us  adore,  above  all,  the  hidden  and 
neglected  life  that  Jesus  Christ  led  in  the  house  of  Naz 
areth  !  O  proud  men,  how  can  you  desire  to  make  your 
selves  seen  and  honored,  when  you  behold  your  God, 
who  spends  thirty  years  of  his  life  in  poverty,  hidden 
and  unknown,  to  teach  us  the  love  of  retirement  and  of 
an  humble  and  a  hidden  life  ! 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

O  my  adorable  Infant,  I  see  Thee  an  humble  servant-boy, 
working  even  in  the  sweat  of  Thy  brow  in  this  poor  shop.  I 
understand  it  all ;  Thou  art  serving  and  working  for  me.  But 
since  Thou  dost  employ  Thy  whole  life  for  the  love  of  me,  so 
grant,  I  pray  Thee,  my  dear  Saviour,  that  I  may  employ  all  the 
rest  of  my  life  for  Thy  love.  Look  not  at  my  past  life  :  it  has 
.been  a  life  of  sorrow  and  tears  both  for  me  and  for  Thee,— a  life 
of  disorder,  a  life  of  sins.  Oh,  permit  me  at  least  to  keep  Thee 
company  during  the  remainder  of  my  days,  and  to  labor  and 
suffer  with  Thee  in  the  shop  of  Nazareth,  and  afterwards  to  die 
with  Thee  on  Calvary,  embracing  that  death  which  Thou  hast 
destined  for  me.  My  dear  Jesus,  my  love,  suffer  me  not  to  leave 
and  forsake  Thee  again,  as  I  have  done  in  times  past.  Thou, 
my  God,  art  suffering  such  poverty  in  a  shop,  hidden,  unknown, 
and  despised  ;  and  I,  a  vile  worm,  have  gone  about  seeking 
honors  and  pleasures,  and  for  the  sake  of  these  have  separated 
myself  from  Thee,  O  sovereign  Good  !  No,  my  Jesus,  I  love 
Thee;  and  because  I  love  Thee,  I  will  not  remain  any  longer 
separated  from  Thee.  I  renounce  all  things,  in  order  to  unite 
myself  to  Thee,  my  hidden  and  despised  Redeemer.  Thy  grace 
gives  me  more  happiness  than  have  all  the  vanities  and  pleas 
ures  of  the  world,  for  which  I  have  so  miserably  forsaken  Thee. 
Eternal  Father,  for  the  merits  of  Jesus  Christ,  unite  me  to  Thy 
self  by  the  gift  of  Thy  holy  love.  Most  holy  Virgin,  how  blessed 
wert  thou,  who,  being  the  companion  of  thy  Son  in  his  poor 


Seventh  Meditation.  281 

and  hidden  life,  didst  make  thyself  so  like  to  thy  Jesus !  O  my 
Mother,  grant  that  I  also,  at  least  during  the  short  remainder  of 
my  life,  may  endeavor  to  become  like  to  thee  and  to  my  Re 
deemer. 

MEDITATION  VII. 

JANUARY  12. 
The  Same  Subject  continued. 

St.  Luke,  speaking  of  the  residence  of  the  Infant  Jesus 
in  the  house  at  Nazareth,  writes:  And  Jesus  advanced  in 
wisdom  and  age,  and  grace  with  God  and  men.*  As  Jesus 
grew  in  age,  so  did  he  increase  in  wisdom:  not  that  he 
went  on  every  year  acquiring  a  greater  knowledge  of 
things,  as  is  the  case  with  us;  for,  from  the  first  moment 
of  his  life,  Jesus  was  full  of  all  divine  knowledge  and 
wisdom:  In  whom  are  hid  all  the  treasures  of  wisdom  and 
knowledge;*  but  it  is  said  that  he  advanced,  because 
every  day  as  he  advanced  in  age  he  manifested  more 
and  more  his  sublime 'wisdom. 

Thus  it  is  also  said  that  he  advanced  in  grace  with 
God  and  men;  with  God,  because  all  his  divine  actions, 
though  they  did  not  render  him  more  holy  or  increase 
his  merit, — since  Jesus  was  from  the  first  full  of  sanctity 
and  merit,  of  whose  fulness  we  have  received  all  graces: 
of  his  fulness  we  have  all  received;'' — yet,  nevertheless, 
these  operations  of  the  Redeemer  were  all  sufficient  in 
themselves  to  increase  his  grace  and  merit. 

He  advanced  also  in  grace  with  men,  increasing  in 
beauty  and  amiability.  Oh,  how  Jesus  showed  himself 
more  and  more  amiable  every  day  of  his  youth,  showing 

1  "  Et  Jesus  proficiebat  sapientia,  et  aetate,  et  gratia,  apud  Deum 
et  homines." — Luke,  ii.  52. 

*  "  In  quo  sunt  omnes  thesauri  sapientiae,  et  scientias  absconditi." 
—Col.  ii.  3- 

8  "  De  plenitudine  ejus  nos  omnes  accepimus  " — John,  i.  16. 


282  Octave  of  the  Epiphany. 

more  and  more  every  day  the  claims  he  had  upon  men's 
love  !  With  what  delight  did  the  holy  youth  obey  Mary 
and  Joseph  !  With  what  recollection  of  mind  did  he 
work!  With  what  moderation  did  he  take  his  food  ! 
With  what  modesty  did  he  speak!  With  what  sweet 
ness  and  affability  did  he  converse  with  all  !  With  what 
devotion  did  he  pray!  In  a  word,  every  action,  every 
word,  every  motion  of  Jesus,  inflamed  with  love  the 
hearts  of  all  those  who  beheld  him,  and  especially  of 
Mary  and  of  Joseph,  who  had  the  good  fortune  to  see 
him  always  at  their  side.  Oh,  how  these  holy  spouses 
remained  always  intent  on  contemplating  and  admiring 
all  the  operations,  the  words,  and  gestures  of  this  Man- 
God ! 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

Grow,  my  beloved  Jesus,  grow  continually  for  me ;  grow  to 
teach  me  Thy  virtues  by  Thy  divine  examples;  grow  to  con 
summate  the  great  sacrifice  on  the  cross,  on  which  depends  my 
eternal  salvation  !  Grant  also,  my  Saviour,  that  I  too  may  grow 
more  in  Thy  love  and  grace.  Miserable  that  I  have  been,  I 
have  hitherto  only  increased  in  ingratitude  towards  Thee  who 
hast  loved  me  so  much.  O  my  Jesus,  grant  that  in  future  it 
may  be  just  the  contrary  with  me  ;  Thou  knowest  all  my  weak 
ness,  it  is  from  Thee  that  I  must  receive  light  and  strength. 
Make  me  know  the  claims  which  Thou  hast  to  my  love.  Thou 
art  a  God  of  infinite  beauty  and  of  infinite  majesty,  who  didst 
not  refuse  to  come  down  upon  this  earth  and  become  man  for 
us,  and  for  our  sakes  to  lead  an  abject  and  painful  life,  and  to 
end  it  by  a  most  cruel  death.  And  where  can  we  ever  find  an 
object  more  amiable  and  more  worthy  of  love  than  Thee  ?  Fool 
that  I  was,  in  times  past  I  refused  to  know  Thee,  and  therefore 
I  have  lost  Thee.  I  implore  Thy  pardon  ;  I  am  heartily  sorry, 
and  I  am  determined  to  be  entirely  devoted  to  Thee  in  future. 
But  do  Thou  assist  me ;  remind  me  constantly  of  the  life  of  suf 
fering  and  the  bitter  death  Thou  hast  endured  for  the  love  of 
me.  Give  me  life  and  give  me  strength.  When  the  devil  pre 
sents  to  me  forbidden  fruit,  grant  me  strength  to  despise  it; 


Eighth  Meditation.  283 

and  let  me  not  for  some  vile  and  momentary  good  risk  losing 
Thee,  O  infinite  Good.  I  love  Thee,  my  Jesus,  who  hast  died 
for  me  ;  I  love  Thee,  infinite  Goodness  ;  I  love  Thee,  O  Beloved 
of  my  soul.  O  Mary,  thou  art  rny  hope ;  through  thy  interces 
sion  I  hope  to  obtain  grace  to  love  my  God  from  this  time  forth 
and  forever,  and  never  to  love  any  but  God. 

MEDITATION  VIII. 

JANUARY  13. 
The  Loss  of  Jesus  in  the  Temple. 

St.  Luke  relates  that  Mary  and  Joseph  went  every 
year  to  Jerusalem  on  the  Feast  of  the  Pasch,  and  took 
the  Infant  Jesus  with  them.  It  was  the  custom,  says  the 
Venerable  Bede,  for  the  Jews  to  make  this  journey  to  the 
temple,  or  at  least  on  their  return  home,  the  men  sepa 
rated  from  the  women  ;  and  the  children  went  at  their 
pleasure,  either  with  their  fathers  or  their  mothers.  Our 
Redeemer,  who  was  then  twelve  years  old,  remained 
during  this  solemnity  for  three  days  in  Jerusalem.  Mary 
thought  he  was  with  Joseph,  and  Joseph  that  he  was 
with  Mary:  Thinking  that  He  was  in  the  company.1 

The  Holy  Child  employed  all  these  three  days  in  hon 
oring  his  eternal  Father  by  fasts,  vigils,  and  prayers, 
and  in  being  present  at  the  sacrifices,  which  were  all  fig 
ures  of  his  own  great  sacrifice  on  the  cross.  If  he  took 
a  little  food,  says  St.  Bernard,  he  must  have  procured  it 
by  begging  ;  and  if  he  took  any  repose,  he  could  have 
had  no  other  bed  but  the  bare  ground. 

When  Mary  and  Joseph  arrived  in  the  evening  at 
their  home,  they  did  not  find  Jesus  ;  wherefore,  full  of 
sorrow,  they  began  to  seek  him  amongst  their  relatives 
and  friends.  At  last,  returning  to  Jerusalem,  the  third 
day  they  found  him  in  the  Temple,  disputing  with  the 
Doctors,  who,  full  of  astonishment,  admired  the  ques- 

1  "  Existimantes  ilium  esse  in  comitatu." — Luke,  ii.  44. 


284  Octave  of  the  Epiphany. 

tions  and  answers  of  this  wonderful  child.  On  seeing 
him,  Mary  said,  Son,  why  hast  Thou  done  so  to  us  ?  Behold 
Thy  father  and  I  have  sought  Thee  sorrowing.1 

There  is  not  upon  earth  a  sorrow  like  to  that  which  is 
felt  by  a  soul  that  loves  Jesus,  when  she  fears  that  Je 
sus  Christ  has  withdrawn  himself  from  her  through 
some  fault  of  hers.  This  was  the  sorrow  of  Mary  and 
Joseph,  which  afflicted  them  so  much  during  these  days; 
for  they  perhaps  feared,  through  their  humility,  as  says 
the  devout  Lanspergius,  that  they  had  rendered  them 
selves  unworthy  of  the  care  of  such  a  treasure.  Where 
fore,  on  seeing  him,  Mary  said  to  him,  in  order  to  ex 
press  to  him  this  sorrow  :  Son,  why  hast  Thou  done  so  to 
us?  Behold  Thy  father  and  I  have  sought  Thee  sorrowing? 
And  Jesus  answered,  Did  you  not  know  that  I  must  be  about 
My  Father  s  business  ?  2 

Let  us  learn  from  this  mystery  two  lessons  ;  the  first, 
that  we  must  leave  all  our  friends  and  relatives  when 
the  glory  of  God  is  in  question.  The  second,  that  God 
easily  makes  himself  found  by  those  who  seek  him:  The 
Lord  is  good  to  the  soul  that  seeketh 


Affections  and  Prayers. 

O  Mary,  thou  weepest  because  thou  hast  lost  thy  Son  for  a 
few  days  ;  he  has  withdrawn  himself  from  thy  eyes,  but  not 
from  thy  heart.  Dost  thou  not  see  that  that  pure  love  with 
which  thou  lovest  him  keeps  him  constantly  united  and  bound 
to  thee?  Thou  knowest  well  that  he  who  loves  God  cannot 
but  be  loved  by  God,  who  says,  /  love  those  that  love  Me  ;  4  and 
with  St.  John,  He  that  abideth  in  charity  abideth  in  God,  and 

"  Fili,  quid  fecisti  nobis  sic  ?  ecce  pater  tuus  et  ego  dolentes  quaa- 
rebamus  te." 

"  Nesciebatis  quia,  in  his  quae  Patris  mei  sunt,  oportet  me  esse  ?" 

"Bonus  est  Dominus  ....  animae  quserenti  ilium."—  Lam. 
iii.  25. 

"Ego  diligentes  me  diligo."  —  Prov.  viii.  17. 


Eighth  Meditation.  285 

God  in  him.1  Wherefore,  then,  dost  thou  fear?  Wherefore  dost 
thou  weep  ?  Leave  these  tears  to  me,  who  have  so  often  lost 
God  through  my  own  fault,  by  driving  him  away  from  my  soul. 

0  my  Jesus  !  how  could  I  offend  Thee  thus  with  my  eyes  open, 
when  I  knew  that  by  sinning  I  should   lose  Thee?     But  Thou 
wiliest  not  that  the  heart  that  seeks  Thee  should  despair,  but 
•  rather  that  it  should  rejoice  :  Let  the  heart  of  them  rejoice  that 

seek  the  Lord?     If  hitherto  I  have  forsaken  Thee,  O  my  Love, 

1  will  now  seek,  and  will  seek  none  but  Thee.     And  provided  I 
possess  Thy  grace,  I  renounce  all  the  goods  and  pleasures  of 
this  world  ;  I  renounce  even  my  own  life,  Thou  hast  said  that 
Thou  lovest  him  who  loves  Thee  ;  I  love  Thee,  do  Thou  also 
love  me.     I  esteem  Thy  love  more  than  the  dominion  of  the 
whole  world.     O  my  Jesus,  I  desire  not  to  lose  Thee  any  more ; 
but  I  cannot  trust  to  myself,  I  trust  in  Thee :  In   Thee,  O  Lord, 
have  I  put  my  trust ;  I  shall  not  be  confounded  forever?     I  be 
seech  Thee,  do  Thou  bind  me  to  Thee,  and  permit  me  not  to 
be  again  separated  from  Thee.     O  Mary !  through  thee  have  I 
found  my  God,  whom  1  had  once  lost ;  do  thou  obtain  for  me 
also  holy  perseverance ;  wherefore  I  will  also  say  to  thee,  with 
St.  Bonaventure,  In  thee,  O  Lady,  have  I  hoped ;  let  me  not  be 
confounded  forever, 4 

1  "  Qui  manet  in  charitate,  in  Deo  manet,  et  Deus  in  eo."— i  John, 
iv.  16. 

2  "  Leetetur  cor  quaerentium  Dominum." — Ps.  civ.  3. 

3  "In  te,   Domine.   speravi  ;    non    confundar   in    aeternum." — Ps. 
xxx.  6. 

4  "In  te,  Domina,  speravi  ;  non  confundar  in  seternum." 


286 


©tljer  iflebitati0ns  for  tlje  first  €ig!)t  jEDajia  of 


MEDITATION    I. 

The  Love  that  God  has  manifested  to  us  in  the  Incarnation  of 
the  Word. 

Et  Verbum  caro  factum  est. 
"And  the  Word  was  made  flesh."—  John,  i.  14. 

I. 

God  has  created  us  to  love  him  in  this  life,  and  after 
wards  to  enjoy  him  in  the  next;  but  we  ungratefully 
rebelled  against  God  by  sinning,  and  refused  to  obey 
him,  and  therefore  we  have  been  deprived  of  divine  grace 
and  excluded  from  paradise,  and  besides  condemned  to 
the  eternal  pains  of  hell.  Behold  us,  therefore,  all  lost; 
but  this  God,  moved  by  compassion  for  us,  resolved  to 
send  on  earth  a  Redeemer,  who  should  repair  our  great 


ruin. 

II. 


But  who  shall  this  Redeemer  be  ?    Shall  it  be  an  angel 
or  a  seraph  ?     No;  to  show  us  the  immense  love  that  he 
bears  us,  God  sends  us  his  own   Son:   '•  God  sent  His  Son 
in  the  likeness  of  sinful  flesh."  '     He  sent  his  only-begotten 
Son  to  clothe  himself  with  the  same  flesh  as  we  sinners 
but  without  the  stain  of  sin;  and   he  willed   that  bv  his 
sufferings  and  his  death  he  should  satisfy  the  divine  jus 
tice   for   our  crimes,  and   should    thus   deliver  us   from 


Similitudinem  carnjs    peccati." 

These  eight  meditations,  with  the  twelve  others  that  follow  them 

some 


For  the  First  Eight  Days  of  Advent.     287 

eternal  death,  and  render  us  worthy  of  divine  grace  and 
eternal  glory. 

I  thank  Thee,  O  my  God,  on  behalf  of  all  mankind; 
for,  if  Thou  hadst  not  thought  of  saving  us,  I  and  all  the 
world  would  have  been  lost  forever. 

ill. 

Let  us  dwell  here  on  the  infinite  love  which  our  God 
has  shown  for  us  in  this  great  work  of  the  Incarnation 
of  the  Word,  ordaining  that  his  Son  should  come  and 
sacrifice  his  life  upon  the  Cross  by  the  hands  of  execu 
tioners,  in  a  sea  of  sorrows  and  of  shame,  to  obtain  fet 
us  pardon  and  eternal  salvation.  O  infinite  goodness! 
O  infinite  mercy!  O  infinite  love  !  A  God  to  become 
man  and  die  for  us  poor  worms! 

I  beseech  Thee,  my  Saviour,  make  me  know  how  much 
Thou  hast  loved  me,  in  order  that,  at  the  sight  of  Thy 
loving-kindness,  I  may  discover  my  own  ingratitude. 
Thou  hast  delivered  me  by  Thy  death  from  perdition; 
and  I,  ungrateful  that  I  am,  have  turned  my  back  upon 
Thee,  to  ruin  myself  again!  I  repent  with  all  my  heart 
of  having  done  Thee  this  great  injury.  O  my  Saviour! 
forgive  me  and  save  me  in  future  from  sin;  do  not  suffer 
me  again  to  lose  Thy  grace.  I  love  Thee,  O  my  dear 
Jesus;  Thou  art  my  hope  and  my  love!  O  Mary,  Mother 
of  this  great  Son,  recommend  to  him  my  soul! 

MEDITATION    II. 

Goodness  of  God  the  Father  and  of  God  the  Son  in  the  Work 
of  the  Redemption. 

Et  incarnatux  est  de  Spiritu  Sancto  ex  Maria  Virgine*  et  homo  factus  est. 

"And  became  incarnate  by  the  Holy  Ghost  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  and  was  made, 
man." — Symb.  Const. 

I. 

God  created  Adam,  and  enriched  him  with  gifts;  but 
man,  ungrateful,  offended  him  by  sinning,  and  thus  both 


288  Other  Meditations. 

he  and  all  we,  his  descendants,  remained  deprived  of 
divine  grace  and  paradise.  Thus,  then,  all  mankind 
was  lost  and  without  a  remedy.  Man  had  offended 
God,  and  therefore  was  incapable  of  giving  him  an  ade 
quate  satisfaction  ;  it  was  necessary  then  that  a  divine 
person  should  satisfy  for  man.  What  does  the  eternal 
Father  to  save  lost  man?  He  sent  this  same  Son  to 
become  man,  and  clothe  himself  with  the  same  flesh  as 
sinful  men,  in  order  that  by  his  death  he  might  pay 
their  debts  to  divine  justice,  and  thus  obtain  for  them  a 
restoration  to  divine  grace. 

O  my  God,  if  Thy  infinite  bounty  had  not  discovered 
this  remedy,  who  of  us  could  ever  have  asked  it,  or  even 
imagined  it  ? 

II. 

O  God,  what  a  subject  of  wonder  must  not  this  great 
love  which  God  showed  to  rebellious  man  have  been  to 
the  angels  !  What  must  they  have  said  when  they  saw 
the  eternal  Word  become  man,  and  assume  the  same 
flesh  as  sinful  man,  insomuch  that  this  Word  incarnate 
appeared  to  the  whole  world  in  the  form  of  a  sinful  man, 
as  were  all  others.  O  my  Jesus,  how  much  do  we  not 
owe  Thee,  and  how  much  more  than  others  am  I  not 
indebted  to  Thee,  who  have  offended  Thee  so  much  more 
than  others  !  If  Thou  hadst  not  come  to  save  me,  what 
would  have  become  of  me  for  all  eternity?  Who  could 
have  saved  me  from  the  pains  that  I  deserve?  Mayest 
Thou  be  ever  blessed  and  praised  for  so  great  love! 

in. 

Thus,  then,  the  Son  of  God  comes  from  heaven  on 
earth,  and  becomes  man;  he  comes  to  live  a  life  of  suf 
fering;  he  comes  to  die  upon  the  cross  for  the  love  of 
man;  and  shall  men  who  believe  all  this  love  any  other 
object  besides  this  incarnate  God? 

O  Jesus  my  Saviour,  I  will  love  none  other  but  Thee; 


For  the  First  Eight  Days  of  Advent.     289 

Thou  alone  hast  loved  me,  Thee  alone  will  I  love.  I  re 
nounce  all  created  goods;  Thou  alone  art  sufficient  for 
me,  O  immense  and  infinite  Good!  If  hitherto  I  have 
displeased  Thee,  I  am  now  heartily  sorry  for  it,  and 
would  wish  that  this  sorrow  might  make  me  die,  to  com 
pensate  in  some  measure  for  the  displeasure  I  have 
caused  Thee.  Oh,  permit  me  not  in  future  to  be  ever 
again  ungrateful  for  the  love  Thou  hast  borne  me.  No, 
my  Jesus,  make  me  love  Thee,  and  then  treat  me  as 
Thou  pleasest.  O  infinite  Bounty,  O  infinite  Love,  I 
will  only  live  henceforth  to  love  Thee  !  O  Mary,  Mother 
of  mercy,  this  one  favor  I  ask  of  thee,  obtain  for  me  the 
grace  of  always,  always  loving  God. 

MEDITATION    III. 

Motives  of  Confidence  that  are  given  to  us  by  the  Incarnation 
of  the  Word. 

Quomodo  non  etiam  cum  illo  omnia  nobis  donavit? 
"  How  hath  he  not  also,  with  him,  given  us  all  things  ?" — Rom.  viii.  32. 

I. 

Consider,  my  soul,  that  the  eternal  Father,  in  giving 
us  his  beloved  Son  for  our  Redeemer,  could  have  given 
us  no  stronger  motives  for  confiding  in  his  mercy  and 
loving  his  infinite  bounty;  for  he  could  have  given  us 
no  more  certain  token  of  the  desire  he  has  for  our  good, 
and  of  the  immense  love  which  he  bears  us,  inasmuch  as 
in  giving  us  his  Son,  he  has  nothing  left  to  give  us.  Let 
all  men,  therefore,  O  eternal  God,  praise  Thy  infinite 
charity. 

II. 

How  hath  He  not  also,  with  Him,  given  us  all  things  f 
Since  God  has  given  us  his  Son,  whom  he  loved  as  him 
self,  how  can  we  fear  that  he  will  deny  us  any  other 

1  "  Quomodo  non  etiam  cum  illo  omnia  nobis  donavit?" 
IQ 


290  Other  Meditations. 

good  that  we  ask  of  him  ?  If,  therefore,  he  has  given  us 
his  Son,  he  will  not  refuse  us  pardon  for  the  offences 
v/hicli  we  have  committed  against  him,  provided  we  de 
test  them;  he  will  not  refuse  us  the  grace  to  resist  temp 
tations,  if  we  implore  it  of  him;  he  will  not  refuse  us  his 
holy  love,  if  we  desire  it;  he  will  not,  finally,  refuse  us 
Paradise,  if  we  do  not  render  ourselves  unworthy  of  it 
by  falling  into  sin.  Behold  how  Jesus  himself  assures 
us  of  this:  If  you  ask  the  Father  any  t hi  tig  in  My  name,  He 
will  give  it  you? 

Encouraged,  therefore,  O  my  God,  by  this  promise,  I 
beg  of  Thee,  for  the  love  of  Jesus  Thy  Son,  to  pardon 
me  all  the  injuries  that  I  have  done  Thee;  give  me  holy 
perseverance  in  Thy  grace  until  death;  give  me  Thy 
holy  love;  may  I  detach  myself  from  everything  to  love 
Thee  alone,  O  infinite  Goodness;  give  me  Paradise  in 
order  that  I  may  come  and  love  Thee  there  with  all  my 
strength,  and  forever,  without  fear  of  ever  ceasing  to 
love  Thee. 

in. 

In  a  word,  the  Apostle  says  that,  having  obtained 
Jesus  Christ,  we  have  been  enriched  with  every  good,  so 
that  there  is  no  grace  wanting  to  us:  /;/  all  things  you  are 
made  rich  in  Him  .  .  . ,  so  that  nothing  is  wanting  to  you  in  any 
grace? 

Yes,  my  Jesus,  Thou  art  every  good;  Thou  alone  suf- 
ficest  me;  for  Thee  alone  do  I  sigh;  if  once  I  drove  Thee 
away  from  me  by  my  sins,  I  repent  of  it  now  with  my 
whole  heart.  Forgive  me,  and  return  to  me,  O  Lord; 
and  if  Thou  art  already  with  me,  as  I  hope,  leave  me 
not  again,  or,  rather,  suffer  me  not  to  drive  Thee  away 

"Si  quid  petieritis  Patrem  in  nomine  meo,  dabit  vobis." — John, 
xvi.  23. 

'*  "  In  omnibus  divites  facti  estis  in  illo  .  .  .  ,  ita  ut  nihil  vobis 
desit  in  ulla  gratia." — I  Cor.  i.  5. 


For  the  First  Eight  Days  of  Advent.     291 

from  my  soul  again.  My  Jesus,  my  Jesus,  my  treasure, 
my  love,  my  All,  I  love  Thee,  I  love  Thee,  I  love  Thee, 
and  will  love  Thee  forever.  O  Mary,  my  hope,  make 
me  always  to  love  Jesus. 

MEDITATION  IV. 

Happiness  of  having  been  born  after  the  Redemption  and  in 
the  True  Church. 

Ubi  venit  plenitudo  temporis,  inisit  Deus  Filium  suum  .  .  .  ,  ut  eos  qui  sub  lege 
erant,  redimeret. 

"  When  the  fulness  of  the  time  was  come,  God  sent  His  Son  .  .  .  that  he  might 
redeem  them  who  were  under  the  law." — Gal.  iv.  4. 

I. 

How  thankful  should  we  not  be  to  Almighty  God  for 
having  caused  us  to  be  born  after  the  great  work  of  man's 
redemption  was  accomplished  !  This  is  what  is  meant  by 
the  fulness  of  time*  a  time  blessed  by  the  fulness  of  grace, 
which  Jesus  Christ  obtained  for  us  by  coming  into  the 
world.  Miserable  should  we  have  been  if,  guilty  as  we 
are  of  manifold  sins,  we  had  lived  on  this  earth  before 
the  coming  of  Jesus  Christ. 

H. 

Oh,  what  a  miserable  state  were  all  men  in  before  the 
coming  of  the  Messias;  the  true  God  was  hardly  known 
even  in  Judea,  and  in  every  other  part  of  the  world 
idolatry  reigned,  so  that  our  forefathers  worshipped 
stones,  and  wood,  and  devils;  they  worshipped  innumer 
able  false  gods,  but  the  true  God  was  neither  loved  nor 
known  by  them.  Even  now,  how  many  countries  are  there 
in  which  there  are  scarcely  any  Catholics,  and  all  the 
rest  of  the  inhabitants  are  either  infidels  or  heretics  !  and 
all  these  are  certainly  in  the  way  to  be  lost.  What  ob 
ligation  do  we  not  owe  to  God  for  causing  us  to  be  born, 

1  "Plenitudo  temporis." 


292  Other  Meditations. 

not  only  after   the  coming  of  Jesus  Christ,  but  also  in 
countries  where  the  true  faith  reigns  ! 

I  thank  Thee,  O  Lord,  for  this.  Woe  to  me  if,  after 
so  many  transgressions,  it  had  been  my  lot  to  live  in  the 
midst  of  infidels  or  heretics  !  I  know,  O  my  God,  that 
Thou  wiliest  that  I  should  be  saved;  and  I,  miserable 
wretch,  have  willed  so  many  times  to  damn  myself  by 
losing  Thy  favor.  Have  pity,  my  Blessed  Redeemer, 
on  my  soul,  which  has  cost  Thee  so  much. 

in. 

God  sent  His  Son  that  He  might  redeem  them  that  were  un 
der  the  law.1  The  slave  therefore  sins,  and  by  sinning 
gives  himself  into  the  power  of  the  devil,  and  his  own 
Lord  comes  and  ransoms  him  by  his  death. 

O  immense  love,  O  infinite  love  of  God  towards  man  ! 
O  my  Saviour,  if  Thou  hadst  not  redeemed  me  by  Thy 
death,  what  would  have  become  of  me?  Of  me,  who  so 
many  times  have  deserved  hell  by  my  sins.  Oh,  if  Thou, 
my  Jesus,  hadst  not  died  for  me,  I  should  have  lost  Thee 
forever,  and  there  would  have  been  no  hope  for  me  of 
recovering  Thy  grace,  or  of  seeing  Thy  beautiful  face  in 
paradise.  My  dearest  Saviour,  I  thank  Thee;  and  I 
hope  to  come  to  heaven,  there  to  thank  Thee  for  all 
eternity.  I  regret  above  every  evil  that  of  having  de 
spised  Thee  in  times  past.  In  future,  I  purpose  to 
choose  every  trouble,  every  kind  of  death,  rather  than 
offend  Thee.  I  beseech  Thee,  my  Jesus,  let  me  never 
do  so; '"never  let  me  be  separated  from  Thee,  never  let 
me  be  separated  from  Thee."2  I  love  Thee,  O  infinite 
Goodness  !  and  I  will  always  love  Thee  in  this  life,  and 
in  all  eternity.  O  my  queen  and  advocate,  Mary,  keep 
me  always  under  thy  protection,  and  deliver  me  from 
sin. 

"  Misit  Filium  suum,  ut  eos,  qui  sub  lege  erant,  redimeret."— - 
Qal.  iv.  4. 
*  "  Noli  me  separari  a  te;  noli  me  separari  a  te." 


For  the  First  Eight  Days  of  Advent.     293 


MEDITATION  V. 
Jesus  has  done  and  suffered  Everything  to  save  us. 

Dilexit  me,  et  tradidit  setnetipsum  pro  me. 
"  He  loved  me,  and  delivered  Himself  for  me."— Gal.  ii.  20. 

I. 

If,  therefore,  my  Jesus,  Thou  hast  for  love  of  me  em 
braced  a  laborious  life  and  a  bitter  death,  I  may,  indeed, 
say  that  Thy  death  is  mine,  Thy  sufferings  are  mine,  Thy 
merits  are  mine,  Thou  Thyself  art  mine;  since  for  me 
Thou  hast  given  Thyself  up  to  so  great  sufferings.  Ah, 
my  Jesus,  there  is  no  trouble  that  afflicts  me  more  than 
the  thought  that  once  Thou  wert  mine,  and  that  I  have 
so  often  willingly  lost  Thee.  Forgive  me,  and  unite  me 
to  Thyself;  suffer  me  not  in  future  ever  to  offend  Thee 
again.  I  love  Thee  with  all  my  heart.  Thou  wiliest  to 
be  all  mine;  and  I  will  be  entirely  Thine. 

II. 

The  Son  of  God  being  true  God  is  infinitely  happy; 
and  yet,  as  St.  Thomas  says,  he  has  done  and  suffered  as 
much  for  man  as  if  he  could  not  be  happy  without  him.1 
If  Jesus  Christ  had  been  obliged  to  earn  for  himself 
upon  this  earth  his  eternal  beatitude,  what  could  he 
have  done  more  than  to  burden  himself  with  all  our 
weaknesses,  and  assume  all  our  infirmities,  and  then  end 
his  life  with  a  death  so  severe  and  ignominious?  But 
no,  he  was  innocent,  he  was  holy,  and  was  in  himself 
blessed;  whatever  he  did  and  suffered  was  all  to  gain  for 
us  divine  grace  and  paradise,  which  we  had  lost. 

Miserable  is  he  that  does  not  love  Thee,  my  Jesus,  and 
that  does  not  pass  his  life  enamoured  with  so  much 
goodness. 

1  "  Quasi  sine  ipso  beatus  essc  non  posset,"—  Of  use,  63,  c.  7. 


2 94  Other  Meditations. 


in. 


If  Jesus  Christ  had  permitted  us  to  ask  him  for  the 
greatest  proofs  of  his  love,  who  would  have  dared  to  pro 
pose  to  him  to  become  a  child  like  one  of  us,  to  embrace 
all  our  miseries,  to  make  himself  of  all  men  the  most 
poor,  the  most  despised,  the  most  ill-used,  even  to  dying 
m  torments  the  infamous  death  of  the  cross,  cursed'and 
forsaken  by  all,  even  by  his  own  Father  ?  But  that  which 
we  should  not  have  dared  even  to  think  of,  he  has  both 
thought  of  and  done. 

My  beloved  Redeemer,  I  beseech   Thee  to  obtain   for 

that  grace  which  Thou   hast  merited  for  me  by  Thy 

death.   I  love  Thee,  and  am  sorry  for  having  offended  Thee 

3h,  take  my  soul  into  Thy  hands;  I  will  not  let  the  devil 

have  dominion  over  it  any  more;   I  desire  that  it  may  be 

entirely   Thine,   since   Thou    hast    bought   it    with   Thy 

blood.     Thou   alone   lovest   me,  and    Thee   alone  will   I 

Deliver   me    from    the    misery   of  living   without 

Thy   love,   and    then   chastise    me   as  Thou    wiliest       Q 

Mary,  my  refuge,  the  death  of  Jesus  and  thy  intercession 

are  my  hopes. 

MEDITATION  VI. 

The  Sight  of  our  Sins  afflicted  Jesus  from  the  First  Moment 
of  his  Life. 

Dolor  meus  in  conspectu  rneo  semper. 
"My  sorrow  is  continually  before  me."— Ps.  xxxvii.  18, 

All  the  afflictions  and  ignominies  which  Jesus  Christ 
suffered  in  life  and  death,  all  were  present  to  his  mind 
from  the  first  moment  of  his  life.1  And  he  offered  them 
all  every  moment  of  his  life  in  satisfaction  for  our  sins. 
Our  Lord  revealed  to  one  of  his  servants  that  every  sin 
'  Dolor  meus  in  conspectu  meo  semper." 


For  the  First  Eight  Days  of  Advent.     295 

of  men  gave  him  during  his  life  so  much  sorrow  that  it 
would  have  sufficed  to  cause  his  death,  if  his  life  had  not 
been  preserved  in  order  that  he  might  suffer  more.  Be 
hold,  O  my  Jesus  !  what  gratitude  hast  Thou  received 
from  men,  and  especially  from  me.  Thou  hast  spent 
thirty-three  years  of  life  for  my  salvation,  and  I  have 
done  as  much  as  I  could,  as  far  as  it  depended  on  me,  to 
make  Thee  die  with  sorrow,  as  often  as  I  have  committed 
sin. 

n. 

St.  Bernardine  of  Sienna  writes  that  Jesus  Christ 
"  had  a  particular  regard  to  every  single  sin."  '  Each  of 
our  sins  was  present  continually  to  our  Saviour,  even 
from  his  infancy,  and  afflicted  him  grievously.  St. 
Thomas  adds2  tha*t  this  one  sorrow  of  knowing  all  the 
injury  which  resulted  to  the  Father  from  every  sin,  and 
all  the  evil  which  it  occasioned  to  us,  surpassed  the  sor 
row  of  all  the  contrite  sinners  that  ever  were,  even  of 
those  who  died  of  pure  contrition;  because  no  sinner 
ever  arrived  at  loving  God  and  his  own  soul  as  Jesus 
Christ  has  loved  the  Father  and  our  souls. 

Therefore,  my  Jesus,  if  no  man  ever  loved  me  more 
than  Thou  hast  done,  it  it  only  just  that  I  should  love 
Thee  above  all  men.  Since,  then,  I  can  say  that  Thou 
alone  hast  really  loved  me,  so  will  I  love  Thee  alone. 

in. 

That  agony  which  Jesus  suffered  in  the  garden  at  the 
sight  of  our  sins,  for  which  he  had  taken  upon  himself 
to  satisfy,  he  suffered  from  the  time  he  was  conceived  in 
his  mother's  womb.  If,  therefore,  Jesus  Christ  passed  a 
life  full  of  tribulations  for  no  other  reason  than  on  ac 
count  of  our  sins,  we  ought  not,  during  our  life,  to  afflict 

1  "Ad  quamlibet  culpam  singularem  habet  aspectum." — T.  ii.  s. 
56,  a.  i,  c.  i. 

2  P.  3,  q.  46,  a.  6. 


296  Other  Meditations. 

ourselves  for  any  other  evils  than  for  the  sins  which  we 
have  committed. 

My  beloved  Redeemer,  I  could  wish  to  die  of  sorrow 
at  the  thought  of  all  the  bitterness  that  I  have  caused 
Thee  during  my  life.  My  Love,  if  Thou  lovest  me,  give 
me  such  a  sorrow  as  may  take  away  my  life,  and  so 
obtain  for  me  Thy  pardon,  and  the  grace  to  love  Thee 
with  all  my  strength.  I  give  Thee  my  whole  heart;  and 
if  I  do  not  know  how  to  give  it  to  Thee  entirely,  oh,  do 
Thou  take  it  Thyself,  and  inflame  it  with  Thy  holy  love. 
O  Mary,  advocate  of  the  wretched,  I  recommend  myself 
to  thee. 

MEDITATION  VII. 

Baptisnto  habeo  baptizari ;  et  quomodo  coarctor,  u'squedutn  perfi ciaturt 

"  I  have  a  baptism  wherewith  I  am  to  be  baptized;  and  how  am  I  straitened  until 
it  be  accomplished  ?" — Luke,  xii.  50. 

The  Desire  that  Jesus  had  to  suffer  for  us. 


Jesus  could  have  saved  us  without  suffering;  but  he 
chose  rather  to  embrace  a  life  of  sorrow  and  contempt, 
deprived  of  every  earthly  consolation,  and  a  death  of 
bitterness  and  desolation,  only  to  make  us  understand 
the  love  which  he  bore  us,  and  the  desire  which  he  had 
that  we  should  love  him.  He  passed  his  whole  life  in 
sighing  for  the  hour  of  his  death,  which  he  desired  to 
offer  to  God,  to  obtain  for  us  eternal  salvation.  And  it 
was  this  desire  which  made  him  exclaim:  I  have  a  bap 
tism  wherewith  I  am  to  be  baptized;  and  how  am  I  straitened 
until  it  be  accomplished?1  He  desired  to  be  baptized  in 
his  own  blood,  to  wash  out,  not,  indeed,  his  own,  but 
our  sins.  O  infinite  Love,  how  miserable  is  he  who  does 
not  know  Thee,  and  does  not  love  Thee  ! 

"  Desiderio  desideravi  hoc  pascha  manducare  vobiscnm." — Luke, 
xxii.  15. 


For  the  First  Eight  Days  of  Advent.     297 

ii. 

This  same  desire  caused  him  to  say,  on  the  night  be 
fore  his  death,  With  desire  I  have  desired  to  eat  this  pasch 
with  you.  By  which  words  he  shows  that  his  only  desire 
during  his  whole  life  had  been  to  see  the  time  arrive  for 
his  Passion  and  death,  in  order  to  prove  to  man  the 
immense  love  which  he  bore  him.  So  much,  therefore, 
O  my  Jesus,  didst  Thou  desire  our  love,  that  to  obtain 
it  Thou  didst  not  refuse  to  die.  How  could  I,  then,  deny 
anything  to  a  God  who,  for  love  of  me,  has  given  his 
blood  and  his  life  ? 


in. 


St.  Bonaventure  says  that  it  is  a  wonder  to  see  a  God 
suffering  for  the  love  of  men;  but  that  it  is  a  still  greater 
wonder  that  men  should  behold  a  God  suffering  so  much 
for  them,  shivering  with  cold  as  an  infant  in  a  manger, 
living  as  a  poor  boy  in  a  shop,  dying  as  a  criminal  on  a 
cross,  and  yet  not  burn  witli  love  to  this  most  loving 
God;  but  even  go  so  far  as  to  despise  this  love,  for  the 
sake  of  the  miserable  pleasures  of  this  earth.  But  how 
is  it  possible  that  God  should  be  so  enamoured  with 
men,  and  that  men,  who  are  so  grateful  to  one  another, 
should  be  so  ungrateful  to  God  ? 

Alas  !  my  Jesus,  I  find  myself  also  among  the  number 
of  these  ungrateful  ones.  Tell  me,  how  couldst  Thou 
suffer  so  much  for  me,  knowing  the  injuries  that  I  should 
commit  against  Thee  ?  But  since  Thou  hast  borne  with 
me,  and  even  desirest  my  salvation,  give  me,  I  pray 
Thee,  a  great  sorrow  for  my  sins,  a  sorrow  equal  to  my 
ingratitude.  I  hate  and  detest,  above  all  things,  my 
Lord,  the  displeasure  which  I  have  caused  Thee.  If, 
during  my  past  life,  I  have  despised  Thy  grace,  now  I 
value  it  above  all  the  kingdoms  of  the  earth.  I  love 
Thee  with  my  whole  soul,  O  God,  worthy  of  infinite 
love,  and  I  desire  only  to  live  in  order  to  love  Thee, 


298  Other  Meditations. 

Increase  the  flames  of  Thy  love,  and  give  me  more  and 
more  love.  Keep  alive  in  my  remembrance  the  love  that 
Thou  hast  borne  me,  so  that  my  heart  may  always  burn 
with  love  for  Thee,  as  Thy  heart  burns  with  love 'for  me 

0  burning  heart  of  Mary,  inflame  my  poor  heart  with 
holy  love. 

MEDITATION   VIII. 

Haurietis  aquas  in  gaudio  de  fontibus  Salvatoris. 
"You  shall  draw  waters  with  joy  out  of  the  Saviour's  fountains."-/,*,  xii.  3. 

Three  Fountains  of  Grace  that  We  have  in  Jesus  Christ. 

I. 

We  have  three  fountains  of  grace  in  Jesus  Christ. 
The  first  is  the  fountain  of  mercy,  in  which  we  may 
purify  ourselves  from  all  the  filth  of  our  sins.  For  this 
end  did  our  blessed  Redeemer  form,  for  our  good,  this 
fountain  out  of  his  own  blood.  He  hath  loved  us,  and 
washed  us  from  our  sins  in  His  own  blood.1 

My  dearest  Saviour,  how  much  do  I  owe  Thee  !  Thou 
hast  done  for  me  what  no  servant  would  have  done  for 
his  master,  and  no  son  for  his  father.  No,  I  cannot 
cease  to  love  Thee;  for  Thou  hast,  by  Thy  love,  entailed 
on  me  the  necessity  of  loving  Thee. 

ii. 

The  second  fountain  is  that  of  love.  He  that  medi 
tates  on  the  sufferings  and  degradations  undergone  by 
Jesus  Christ,  for  the  love  of  us,  from  his  birth  even 
until  his  death,  must  of  necessity  feel  himself  inflamed 
with  that  blessed  fire  which  he  came  on  earth  to  enkindle 
in  the  hearts  of  men.  Thus  it  is  that  the  waters  of  this 
fountain  wash,  and  at  the  same  time  inflame,  our  souls. 
Grant,  therefore,  O  my  Jesus!  that  the  blood  which 

1  "  Dilexit  nos,  et  lavit  nos  a  peccatis  nostris  in  sanguine  suo  "— 
Apoc.  i.  5. 


For  the  First  Eight  Days  of  Advent.     299 

Thou  hast  shed  for  me  may  not  only  wash  away  all  the 
sins  which  I  have  committed  against  Thee,  but  may  also 
inflame  me  with  holy  ardor  towards  Thee.  Make  me 
forget  everything,  so  that  I  may  be  intent  only  on  loving 
Thee,  my  God,  who  art  worthy  of  infinite  love. 

in. 

The  third  fountain  is  that  of  peace.  This  is  what 
Jesus  Christ  meant  when  he  said,  If  any  man  thirst,  let 
him  come  to  Me.1  He  that  desireth  peace  of  mind,  let 
him  come  to  me,  who  am  the  God  of  peace.  The  peace 
which  the  Lord  gives  to  the  souls  that  love  him  is  not 
the  peace  which  the  world  promises  in  the  pleasures  of 
sense  or  in  temporal  goods  which  do  not  satisfy  the 
heart  of  man.  The  peace  which  God  gives  to  his  ser 
vants  is  true  peace,  perfect  peace,  which  satisfies  the 
heart,  and  surpasses  all  the  enjoyments  that  creatures 
can  afford.  But  he  that  shall  drink  of  the  water  that  I  will 
give  him  shall  not  thirst  forever?'  He  that  truly  loves  God 
leaves  everything,  despises  everything,  and  seeks  noth 
ing  but  God.  "  Yes,  my  God,  I  desire  Thee  alone,  and 
nothing  else."  There  was,  indeed,  a  time  when  I  sought 
for  other  goods  besides  Thee;  but  when  I  think  of  the  in 
justice  which  I  have  done  Thee,  in  preferring  so  vile  and 
fleeting  goods  to  Thee,  I  am  ready  to  die  of  sorrow.  I 
acknowledge  the  sin  I  have  committed,  and  I  grieve  for 
it  with  my  whole  heart.  I  acknowledge  also  that  Thou 
art  worthy  of  all  my  love;  and  therefore  I  repeat,  and 
hope  always  to  repeat  in  this  life  and  in  the  next,  "  My 
God,  my  God,  I  desire  Thee  alone,  and  nothing  more; 
I  desire  Thee  alone,  and  nothing  more."  O  Mary,  thou 
wert  the  first  lover  of  this  God;  oh,  make  me  partake  in 
thy  love  ! 

"Si  quis  sitit,  veniat  ad  me." — John,  vii.  37. 

9  "  Qui  autem  biberit  ex  aqua  quam  ego  dabo  ei,  non  sitiet  in  aeter- 
num." — John,  iv.  13. 


|00  Other  Meditations. 


<*3>tl)er  iltebilalions  for  tl)e  2Cot>ena  of  Christmas. 

Chaplet  to  be  recited  before  every  Meditation. 

1.  My  most  sweet  Jesus,  who  wert  born  in  a  cave  and 
wert  afterwards  laid  in  a  manger  upon  straw,  have  mer 
cy  upon  us.     R.   Have  mercy,  O  Lord,  have  mercy  upon 
us.      Our  Father,  Hail  Mary,  Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

2.  My  most  sweet  Jesus,  who  wert  presented  and  of 
fered  by  Mary  in  the  temple,  to  be  afterwards  one  day 
sacrificed    for  us    upon   the   cross,  have  mercy  upon   us. 
R.   Have  Mercy,  O  Lord,  have  mercy  upon  us.     Our  Fa 
ther,  Hail  Mary,  Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

3.  My  most  sweet  Jesus,  who  wert  persecuted  by  Her 
od  and  constrained  to  fly  into  Egypt,  have  mercy  upon 
us.      R.    Have  mercy,  O  Lord,  have  mercy  upon  us.     Our 
Father,  Hail  Mary,  Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

4.  My  most  sweet  Jesus,  who  didst  dwell  in  Egypt  for 
seven  years,  poor,  unknown,  and    despised  by  that  bar 
barous  nation,  have  mercy  upon  us.     R.  Have  mercy,  O 
Lord,  have  mercy  upon  us.     Our  Father,  Hail  Mary,  Glory 
be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

5.  My    most    sweet  Jesus,    who   didst   return    to   Thy 
country  to  be  one  day  crucified  there  in  the  midst  of  two 
thieves,  have  mercy  upon  us.     R.   Have  mercy  O  Lord, 
have  mercy   upon  us.     Our  Father,  Hail  Mary,  Glory  be 
to  the  Father,  etc. 

6.  My   most  sweet   Jesus,  who  at   the  age  of   twelve 
years  didst  remain  in  the  temple  to  dispute  with  the  Doc 
tors,  and   after   three    days    wert   found    by   Mary,  have 
mercy  upon  us.     R.   Have   mercy,  O  Lord,  have   mercy 
upon  us.     Our  Father,  Hail  Mary,  Glory  be  to  the  Father, 
etc. 


Novena  of  Christmas.  I.  301 

7.  My  most  sweet  Jesus,  who  didst  live  concealed  from 
the  world   for  so  many  years  in    the  shop  at  Nazareth, 
serving  Mary  and  Joseph,  have  mercy  upon  us.     R,  Have 
mercy,  O  Lord,  have  mercy  upon  us.     Our  Father,  Hail 
Mary,  Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

8.  My  most  sweet  Jesus,  who   for  three  years  before 
Thy  Passion  didst  go  about  preaching  and  teaching  the 
way  of  salvation,  have  mercy  upon  us.     R.   Have  mercy, 
O   Lord,  have  mercy  upon   us.     Our  Father,  Hail  Mary, 
Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

9.  My  most  sweet  Jesus,  who  for  the  love  of  us  didst 
terminate  Thy  life   by  dying  on   the  cross,  have   mercy 
upon  us.     R.   Have  mercy,  O  Lord,  have  mercy  upon  us. 
Our  Father,  Hail  Mary,  Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

MEDITATION   I. 

DECEMBER  16. 
The  Love  that  God  has  shown  to  us  in  becoming  Man. 

Let  us  consider  the  immense  love  which  God  showed 
us  in  becoming  man  in  order  to  procure  us  eternal  life. 

Our  first  parent,  Adam,  having  sinned  and  rebelled 
against  God,  was  driven  out  of  paradise  and  condemned 
to  everlasting  death  with  all  his  descendants.  But  be 
hold  the  Son  of  God,  who,  seeing  man  thus  lost,  in  order 
to  deliver  him  from  death  offers  to  take  upon  himself  hu 
man  flesh,  and  to  die  condemned  as  a  malefactor  upon 
the  cross.  But,  my  Son,  we  may  suppose  the  Father  say 
ing  to  him  :  Consider  what  a  life  of  humiliation  and  suffer 
ing  Thou  wilt  have  to  lead  upon  earth.  Thou  wilt  have 
to  be  born  in  a  cold  cave,  and  to  be  laid  in  a  manger 
for  beasts.  Thou  wilt  have  to  fly  as  an  infant  into  Egypt 
to  escape  from  the  hands  of  Herod.  On  Thy  return 
from  Egypt  Thou  wilt  have  to  live  in  a  shop  as  an  hum 
ble  servant,  poor  and  despised.  And,  finally,  worn  out 
by  sufferings,  Thou  wilt  have  to  give  up  Thy  life  upon  a 


3O2  Other  Meditations. 

cross,  insulted  and  forsaken  by  all. — Father,  all  this  mat 
ters  not,  replies  the  Son  ;  I  am  content  with  enduring 
all,  provided  man  is  saved. 

What  should  we  say  if  a  prince  were  to  take  compas 
sion  upon  a  dead  worm,  and  were  to  choose  to  become  a 
worm  himself,  and  to  make,  as  it  were,  a  bath  of  his  own 
blood,  to  die  in  order  to  restore  the  worm  to  life?  But 
the  eternal  Word  has  done  even  more  than  this  for  us  ; 
for,  being  God,  he  has  chosen  to  become  a  worm  like  us, 
and  to  die  for  us,  in  order  to  purchase  for  us  the  life  of 
divine  grace  which  we  had  lost.  When  he  saw  that  all 
the  gifts  he  had  bestowed  upon  us  could  not  secure  to 
him  our  love,  what  did  he  do  ?  He  became  man,  and  he 
gave  himself  entirely  to  us  :  "  The  Word  was  made  flesh, 
and  gave  Himself  for  us."  1 

Man  by  despising  God,  says  St.  Fulgentius,  separated 
himself  from  God  ;  but  God,  through  his  love  for  man, 
came  from  heaven  to  seek  him.  And  why  did  he  come  ? 
He  came  in  order  that  man  might  know  how  much  God 
loved  him,  and  that  thus,  out  of  gratitude  at  least,  he 
might  love  him  in  return.  Even  the  beasts,  when  they 
approach  themselves  to  us,  make  us  love  them  ;  and  why, 
then,  are  we  so  ungrateful  towards  a  God  who  descends 
from  heaven  to  earth  to  make  us  love  him  ? 

One  day,  when  a  priest  was  saying  these  words  in 
Mass,  Et  verbum  caro  factum  est — "  And  the  Word  was 
made  flesh" — a  man  who  was  present  neglected  to  make 
an  act  of  reverence  ;  upon  which  the  devil  gave  him  a 
blow,  saying,  "Ah,  ungrateful  man!  if  God  had  done 
as  much  for  me  as  he  has  done  for  thee,  I  should  remain 
with  my  fa*ce  always  bent  down  to  the  ground  return 
ing  thanks  to  him." 

"  Verbum  caro  factum  est"— -John,  i.  14— "  et  tradidit  semetipsum 
pro  nobis."— Eph.  v.  2. 


Novena  of  Christmas.  II. 


Affections  and  Prayers. 

O  great  Son  of  God  !  Thou  hast  become  man  in  order  to  make 
Thyself  loved  by  men  ;  but  where  is  the  love  that  men  bear  to 
Thee  ?  Thou  hast  given  Thy  blood  and  Thy  life  to  save  our 
souls ;  and  why  are  we  so  ungrateful  to  Thee,  that,  instead  of 
loving  Thee,  we  despise  with  such  ingratitude  ?  Alas  !  I  myself, 
Lord,  have  been  one  of  those  who  more  than  others  have  thus 
illtreated  Thee.  But  Thy  Passion  is  my  hope.  Oh,  for  the 
sake  of  that  love  that  induced  Thee  to  assume  human  flesh,  and 
to  die  for  me  upon  the  cross,  forgive  me  all  the  offences  I  have 
committed  against  Thee.  I  love  Thee,  O  Incarnate  Word  ;  I 
love  Thee,  O  my  God  ;  I  love  Thee,  O  Infinite  Goodness  ;  and 
I  repent  of  all  the  injuries  I  have  done  Thee.  Would  that  I  could 
die  of  sorrow  for  Thee  !  O  my  Jesus  !  grant  me  the  gift  of  Thy 
love;  let  me  not  live  any  longer  ungrateful  for  the  affliction  Thou 
hast  borne  me.  I  am  determined  to  love  Thee  always.  Give 
me  holy  perseverance.  O  Mary,  Mother  of  God,  and  my 
Mother,  obtain  for  me  from  thy  Son  the  grace  to  love  him  al 
ways  even  unto  death. 

MEDITATION  II. 

DECEMBER  17. 
The  Love  of  God  in  being  born  an  Infant. 

The  Son  of  God,  in  becoming  man  for  our  sake,  might 
have  appeared  in  the  world  at  the  age  of  a  perfect  man, 
as  Adam  appeared  when  he  was  created  ;  but,  as  chil 
dren  generally  attract  to  themselves  greater  love  from 
those  who  take  care  of  them,  therefore  he  chose  to  ap 
pear  upon  earth  as  an  infant;  and  as  the  poorest  and 
most  abject  infant  that  ever  was  born.  St.  Peter  Chrys- 
ologus  writes:  "Thus  did  our  God  choose  to  be  born; 
because  thus  did  he  wish  to  be  loved."  The  prophet 
Isaias  had  already  predicted  that  the  Son  of  God  was  to 
be  born  an  infant,  and  thus  to  give  himself  entirely  to  us 


304  Other  Meditations. 

through  the  love  that  he  bore  us:  A  Child  is  born  to  us,  a 
Son  is  given  to  us.1 

O  my  Jesus,  my  supreme  and  true  God  !  what  can  have 
attracted  Thee  from  heaven  to  be  born  in  a  cave,  if  it  be 
not  the  love  that  Thou  bearest  to  man  ?  What  has 
drawn  Thee  from  the  bosom  of  Thy  Father  to  lay  Thy 
self  down  in  a  manger?  What  has  brought  Thee  down 
from  Thy  throne  above  the  stars,  to  stretch  Thyself  on 
a  little  straw?  What,  from  the  midst  of  the  nine  choirs 
of  angels,  has  placed  Thee  between  two  animals  ?  Thou 
dost  inflame  the  seraphim  with  holy  fire,  and  lo,  Thou 
art  trembling  with  cold  in  this  stable  !  Thou  dost  give 
motion  to  the  heavens  and  the  sun,  and  now  Thou  canst 
not  move  without  being  carried  in  some  one's  arms  ! 
Thou  dost  provide  with  food  both  man  and  beast,  and 
dost  Thou  now  require  a  little  milk  to  sustain  Thy  life? 
Thou  art  the  delight  of  heaven,  and  now  how  is  it  that  I 
hear  Thee  weep  and  moan  ?  Tell  me  who  hath  reduced 
Thee  to  such  misery?  "  Who  hath  done  this?  Love 
hath  done  it,"2  says  St.  Bernard;  the  love  that  Thou 
bearest  to  man  hath  done  it. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

0  dearest  Infant!  tell  me  what  Thou  earnest  on  earth  to  do  ? 
Tell  me  whom  Thou  art  seeking  ?     Ah,  I  understand  Thee  now  ; 
Thou  art  come  in  order  to  die  for  me,  to  deliver  me  from  hell. 
Thou  art  come  to  seek  me,  a  lost  sheep,  in  order  that  I  may  no 
more  fly  from  Thee,  but  love  Thee.    Ah,  my  Jesus,  my  treasure, 
my  life,  my  love,  myall  ;  if  I  do  not  love  Thee,  whom  then  shall 
I  love  ?     Where   can    I  find  a  father,  a  friend,  a  spouse  more 
amiable  than  Thou,  and  who  has  loved  me  more  than  Thou  hast 
done  ?  I  am  sorry  to  have  been  so  many  years  in  the  world,  and 
yet  not  to  have  loved  Thee  ;  yea,  rather  to  have  offended  and 
despised  Thee.     Forgive   me,  O  my   beloved  Redeemer ;  for  I 
repent  of  having  treated  Thee  thus  ;  I  am  sorry  for  it  with  all 

1  "  Parvulus  natus  est  nobis,  et  Filius  datus  est  nobis." — Isa.  ix.  6, 

2  "  Quis  hoc  fecit?    Amor  fecit," 


Novena  of  Christmas.  III.  305 

my  heart.  Pardon  me,  and  give  me  Thy  grace,  that  I  may  never 
again  separate  myself  from  Thee,  and  that  I  may  love  Thee 
constantly  during  the  years  that  remain  to  me  in  this  life.  My 
love,  I  give  myself  entirely  to  Thee;  accept  me,  and  do  not 
reject  me,  though  I  deserve  it.  O  Mary,  thou  art  my  advocate  ; 
thou  dost  obtain  by  thy  prayers  whatever  thou  wilt  from  thy 
Son  ;  beg  of  him  to  forgive  me,  and  to  give  me  holy  perse 
verance  unto  death. 


MEDITATION    III. 

DECEMBER  18. 
The  Life   of  Poverty  which  Jesus  led  even  from  His  Birth. 

It  was  ordained  by  God  that  at  the  time  when  his 
Son  was  born  on  this  earth  the  decree  of  the  emperor 
should  be  promulgated,  obliging  every  one  to  go  and 
enroll  himself  in  the  place  of  his  birth.  And  thus 
it  happened  that  Joseph  had  to  go  with  his  spouse  to 
Bethlehem  to  enroll  himself  according  to  the  decree  of 
Caesar.  And  now,  the  time  of  her  delivery  having  ar 
rived,  Mary,  having  been  driven  from  the  other  houses, 
and  even  from  the  common  asylum  for  the  poor,  was 
obliged  to  remain  that  night  in  a  cave,  and  there 
brought  forth  the  King  of  Heaven.  It  is  true  that,  if 
Jesus  had  been  born  in  Nazareth,  he  would  equally 
have  been  born  in  a  state  of  poverty;  but  then  he  would 
at  least  have  had  a  dry  room,  a  little  fire,  warm  clothes, 
and  a  more  comfortable  cradle.  But  no,  he  chose  to  be 
born  in  this  cold  cavern  without  a  fire  to  warm  him;  he 
chose  to  have  a  manger  for  a  cradle,  and  a  little  prickly 
straw  for  a  bed,  in  order  that  he  might  suffer  more. 

Let  us,  then,  enter  into  the  cave  of  Bethlehem;  but  let 
us  enter  there  with  faith.  If  we  go  there  without  faith, 
we  shall  see  nothing  but  a  poor  infant,  who  moves  us  to 
compassion  at  beholding  him  so  beautiful,  shivering  and 
crying  with  cold,  and  with  the  prickling  of  the  straw  on 
20 


306  Other  Meditations. 

which  he  lies.  But  if  we  enter  in  with  faith,  and  consider 
that  this  Child  is  the  Son  of  God,  who  for  the  love  of  us 
has  come  down  to  this  earth  and  suffered  so  much  to 
pay  the  penalty  of  our  sins,  how  can  it  be  possible  not  to 
thank  him  and  love  him  ? 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

0  my  sweet  Infant !  how  is  it  possible  that,  knowing  how 
much  Thou  hast  suffered  for  me,  I  can  have  been  so  ungrateful 
to  Thee,  and  offended  Thee  so  often  ?     But  these  tears  which 
Thou  sheddest,  this  poverty  which  Thou  hast  chosen  for  the 
love  of  me,  make  me  hope  for  the  pardon  of  all  the  offences 
that  I   have  committed  against  Thee.     I  repent,  my  Jesus,  of 
having  so  often  turned  my  back  upon  Thee  ;  and  I  love  Thee 
above  all  things,  "  my  God  and  my  All."1     My  God,  from  this 
day  forth  Thou  shalt  be  my  only  treasure  and  my  only  good.     I 
will  say  to  Thee,  with  St.    Ignatius  of  Loyola,  "  Give  me  Thy 
love,  give  me  Thy  grace,  and  I  am  sufficiently  rich."     I  wish  for, 
I  desire  nothing  else.     Thou  alone  art  sufficient  for  me,  my 
Jesus,  my  life,  my  love. 

MEDITATION  IV. 

DECEMBER  19. 
The  Life  of  Humility  which  Jesus  led  even  from  His  Infancy. 

All  the  marks  that  the  angel  gave  to  the  shepherds  to 
find  the  Saviour,  who  was  just  born,  were  marks  of  hu 
mility:  And  this  shall  be  a  sign  unto  you;  you  sJiall  find  the 
infant  wrapped  in  swaddling-clothes,  and  laid  in  a  manger? 
This  shall  be  the  sign,  said  the  angel,  to  find  the  new 
born  Messias:  you  will  find  him  an  infant,  wrapped  in 
poor  ragged  clothes,  in  a  stable,  lying  on  straw  in  a 
manger  for  animals.  Thus  would  the  King  of  Heaven, 
the  Son  of  God,  be  born,  because  he  came  to  destroy  the 
pride  which  had  been  the  cause  of  man's  ruin. 

1  "  Deus  meus,  et  omnia." 

"  Et  hoc  vobis  signum  :   invenietis  infantem   pannis  involutum, 
et  positum  in  praesepio," — Luke,  ii.  12. 


Novena  of  Christmas.  IV.  307 

The  prophets  had  already  foretold  that  our  Redeemer 
should  be  treated  as  the  vilest  man  upon  earth,  and 
overwhelmed  with  insults.  How  much  contempt  had 
not  Jesus  to  suffer  from  men  !  He  was  treated  as  a 
drunkard,  as  a  magician,  as  a  blasphemer,  and  a  heretic. 
How  many  affronts  did  he  endure  during  his  Passion  ! 
He  was  forsaken  by  his  own  disciples;  even  one  of  them 
sold  him  for  thirty  pieces  of  silver,  and  another  denied 
having  ever  known  him.  He  was  led  through  the  streets 
bound  like  a  criminal,  scourged  like  a  slave,  treated  like 
a  madman,  as  a  mock  king;  struck,  spit  upon  in  the 
face;  and  at  length  he  was  put  to  death  on  a  cross,  sus 
pended  between  two  thieves,  as  the  greatest  malefactor 
in  the  world. 

Thus,  says  St.  Bernard,  the  noblest  of  men  is  treated 
like  the  vilest  of  all.  "But,  my  Jesus,"  adds  the  saint, 
"  the  viler  Thou  art,  the  dearer  art  Thou  to  me."  ]  The 
more  Thou  appearest  to  me  humbled  and  despised,  the 
more  dear  and  worthy  of  love  dost  Thou  become  to  me. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

O  my  sweet  Saviour !  Thou  hast  embraced  so  much  contempt 
for  the  love  of  me,  and  I  have  not  been  able  to  bear  a  word  of 
insult  without  thinking  immediately  of  revenging  myself  of  it, 
—I  who  so  often  have  deserved  to  be  trodden  underfoot  by  the 
devils  in  hell  !  I  am  ashamed  of  appearing  before  Thee,  a  proud 
sinner  that  I  am.  O  Lord  !  do  not  drive  me  from  Thy  presence, 
as  I  deserve.  Thou  hast  said  that  Thou  couldst  not  despise  a 
heart  that  repents  and  humbles  itself :  1  repent  of  all  the  offences 
I  have  committed  against  Thee.  Forgive  me,  my  Jesus;  for 
I  will  not  offend  Thee  any  more.  Thou  hast  suffered  so  many 
injuries  for  my  sake,  I  will  for  Thy  sake  bear  with  all  the  in 
juries  that  may  be  offered  me.  I  love  Thee,  my  Jesus,  despised 
for  my  sake  ;  I  love  Thee,  my  Good,  above  every  other  good. 
Gfve  me  Thy  help,  that  I  may  always  love  Thee,  and  suffer  every 
insult  for  the  love  of  Thee.  O  Mary  !  recommend  me  to  thy 
Son  ;  pray  to  Jesus  for  me. 

1  "  Quanto  pro  me  vilior,  tanto  mihi  carior." 


308  Other  Meditations. 

MEDITATION  V. 

DECEMBER  20. 

The  Life  of  Sorrow  which  Jesus  led  even  from  His  Birth. 
Jesus  Christ  could  have  saved  man  without  suffering 
and  without  dying;  but  no,  he  chose  a  life  full  of  tribu 
lations,  in  order  to  make  us  know  how  much  he  loved 
us.  Therefore  the  prophet  Isaias  called  him  the  Man  of 
sorrows,1  because  the  life  of  Jesus  Christ  was  to  be  a 
life  full  of  sorrows.  His  Passion  did  not  commence  at 
the  time  of  his  death,  but  from  the  commencement  of 
his  life. 

Behold  him,  as  soon  as  he  is  born,  laid  in  a  stable,  where 
for  Jesus  everything  is  a  torment.  His  sight  is  tor 
mented  by  seeing  nothing  else  in  this  cave  but.  black 
rough  walls.  His  sense  of  smelling  is  tormented  by  the 
stench  of  the  dung  of  the  beasts  that  are  lying  there. 
His  sense  of  touch  is  tormented  by  the  pricking  of  the 
straw  that  serves  him  for  a  bed.  Soon  after  his  birth 
he  is  obliged  to  fly  into  Egypt,  where  he  passed  several 
years  of  his  childhood  poor  and  despised;  the  life  which 
he  led  afterwards  in  Nazareth  was  not  much  better. 
Behold  him  at  length  terminating  his  life  in  Jerusalem, 
dying  on  a  cross  by  dint  of  torments. 

Thus,  then,  the  life  of  Jesus  was  one  continual  suffer 
ing,  and  indeed  a  double  suffering;  for  he  had  constantly 
before  his  eyes  all  the  sorrows  that  would  afflict  him  un 
til  the  day  of  his  death.  Sister  Mary  Magdalene  Orsini, 
complaining  one  day  before  the  crucifix,  said  to  him: 
"O  Lord,  Thou  didst  remain  on  the  cross  for  three 
hours,  but  I  have  suffered  this  pain  for  several  years." 
But  Jesus  answered  her:  "Oh,  ignorant  that  thou  art, 
what  dost  thou  say?  I  suffered  even  from  my  Mother's 
womb  all  the  pains  of  my  life  and  my  death."  But  all 
these  sufferings  did  not  so  much  afflict  Jesus  Christ — 
J  "  Virum  dolorum." — Isa.  liii.  3. 


Novena  of  Christinas.    VI.  309 

because  he  chose  voluntarily  to  suffer  them — as  did  the 
sight  of  our  sins  and  our  ingratitude  for  his  great  love. 
St.  Margaret  of  Cortona  was  never  satisfied  with  lament 
ing  over  the  offences  committed  against  God;  wherefore 
her  confessor  said  to  her  one  day:  "  Margaret,  cease  cry 
ing,  because  God  has  already  forgiven  thee."  But  she 
replied:  "Ah,  Father,  how  can  I  cease  crying,  when  I 
know  that  my  sins  kept  Jesus  Christ  in  a  state  of  afflic 
tion  all  his  life  ?" 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

0  my  sweet  Love,  have  I  then  by  my  sins  kept  Thee  in  a  state 
of  affliction  all  Thy  life  long  ?     Oh,  tell  me,  then,  what  I  can  do, 
in  order  that  Thou  mayest  forgive  me  ;   for  I  will  leave  nothing 
undone.     I  repent,  O  sovereign  Good,  of  all  the  offences  I  have 
committed  against  Thee;  I  repent,  and  love  Thee   more  than 
myself.     I  feel    a  great   desire   to  love  Thee ;  it   is  Thou  that 
givest  me  this  desire ;  give  me,  therefore,  strength  to  love  Thee 
ardently.     It   is  only  just  that  I,  who  have  offended  Thee  so 
much,  should  also  love  Thee  much.     Oh,  remind  me  constantly 
of  the  love  Thou  hast  borne  me,  in  order  that  my  soul  may  al 
ways  burn  with  the  love  of   Thee  ;  that  it  may  think  of  Thee 
alone,  desire  Thee  alone,  and  strive  to  please  Thee  alone.     O 
God  of  love,  I,  who  once  was  the  slave  of  hell,  now  give  myself 
entirely  to  Thee.     Accept  me  in  Thy  mercy,  and   bind  me  with 
Thy  love,  my  Jesus,  from  this  day  forth.     I  will  love  Thee  in 
life;  and  in  loving  Thee  I  will  die.     O  Mary,  my  Mother  and 
my  hope,  help  me  to  love  thy  dear  Jesus  and  mine;  this  favor 
alone  I  desire  and  hope  from  thee. 

MEDITATION  VI. 
DECEMBER  21. 

The  Mercy  of  God  in  coming  down  from  Heaven  to  save   Us 
by  His  Death. 

St.  Paul  says,  The  goodness  and  kindness  of  God  our  Sav 
iour  appeared.1     When,  therefore,  the  Son   of  God  made 

1  "  Benignitas  et  humanitas  apparuit  Salvatoris  nostri  Dei." — Tit, 
iii.  4. 


3 1  o  Other  Meditations. 

Man  appeared  upon  earth,  then  was  seen  how  great  the 
goodness  of  God  was  towards  us.  St.  Bernard  writes 
that  the  power  of  God  appeared  first  in  the  creation  of 
the  world,  and  his  wisdom  in  sustaining  it;  but  his 
mercy  appeared  to  a  still  greater  degree  when  he  took 
human  flesh  to  save  lost  man  by  his  sufferings  and 
death.  And  what  greater  mercy  could  the  Son  of  God 
show  us  than  to  take  upon  him  the  pains  we  have  de 
served  ? 

Behold  him  a  new-born  infant,  weak,  and  wrapped  in 
swaddling-clothes  in  a  manger;  not  able  either  to  move 
or  feed  himself,  he  requires  for  his  sustenance  that  Mary 
should  feed  him  with  a  little  milk.  Behold  him  after 
wards  in  the  judgment-hall  of  Pilate,  bound  to  a  column 
by  cords  from  which  he  cannot  loosen  himself,  and  there 
scourged  from  head  to  foot.  Behold  him  in  the  journey 
to  Calvary,  falling  down  as  he  goes  along  the  road 
through  weakness  and  the  weight  of  the  cross  that  he 
carries.  Behold  him  finally  nailed  to  that  infamous  tree, 
whereon  he  finishes  his  life  by  dint  of  suffering. 

Jesus  Christ  wished  to  gain  all  the  affections  of  our 
hearts  by  his  love  for  us,  and  therefore  he  would  not 
send  an  angel  to  redeem  us,  but  he  would  come  himself 
to  save  us  by  his  Passion.  If  an  angel  had  been  our  re 
deemer,  man  must  have  divided  his  heart,  loving  God  as 
his  Creator,  and  the  angel  as  his  redeemer;  but  God, 
who  desired  the  whole  heart  of  man,  as  he  was  his  Crea 
tor,  chose  also  to  be  his  Redeemer. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

Ah,  my  dear  Redeemer,  where  should  I  be  now,  if  Thou  hadst 
not  borne  with  me  with  so  much  patience,  but  hadst  condemned 
me  to  death  whilst  I  was  yet  in  sin  ?  Since,  then,  Thou  hast 
hitherto  waited  for  me,  my  Jesus,  forgive  me  speedily,  before 
death  surprises  me  whilst  I  am  guilty  of  so  many  offences 
against  Thee.  I  repent,  O  sovereign  Good,  of  having  thus  de 
spised  Thee  ;  I  should  like  to  die  of  sorrow  for  my  sins.  Thou 


Novena  of  Christinas.   VII.  3 1 1 

canst  not  forsake  a  soul  that  seeks  Thee  ;  if  I  have  hitherto  neg 
lected  Thee,  I  will  henceforth  seek  Thee  and  love  Thee.  Yes, 
O  my  God  !  I  love  Thee  above  all  things ;  I  love  Thee  more 
than  myself.  Help  me,  Lord,  to  love  Thee  always  during  the 
remainder  of  my  life  ;  I  ask  nothing  more  ;  I  ask  this,  and  I 
hope  it  of  Thee.  Mary,  my  hope,  do  thou  pray  for  me  ;  if  thou 
prayest  for  me,  I  am  sure  of  grace. 


MEDITATION  VII. 

DECEMBER  22. 
The  Journey  of  the  Infant  Jesus  to  Egypt. 

The  Son  of  God  came  from  heaven  to  save  mankind; 
but  as  soon  as  he  was  born,  they  began  to  persecute  him 
even  until  death.  Herod,  fearing  that  this  Infant  would 
deprive  him  of  his  kingdom,  tried  to  put  him  to  death; 
wherefore  St.  Joseph  was  advised  by  the  angel  in  a  dream 
to  take  Jesus  with  his  Mother  and  to  fly  into  Egypt. 
Joseph  promptly  obeyed,  and  informed  Mary  of  it;  so 
he  took  the  few  implements  of  his  trade  that  lie  pos 
sessed,  in  order  that  they  might  serve  him  to  gain  a  live 
lihood  in  Egypt  for  himself  and  his  poor  family.  Mary, 
on  her  part,  added  a  small  packet  of  clothes  that  were 
to  serve  for  the  Holy  Infant;  and  then,  drawing  near  to 
the  crib,  she  said  with  tears  to  her  sleeping  child,  "O 
my  Son  and  my  God,  Thou  art  come  down  from  heaven 
to  save  men,  and  hardly  art  Thou  born  when  they  seek 
Thee  tq  take  away  Thy  life."  She  then  took  him,  and, 
continuing  to  weep,  in  the  same  night  she  and  Joseph  set 
off  on  their  journey. 

Let  us  consider  how  much  these  holy  pilgrims  must 
have  suffered  whilst  they  were  making  so  long  a  journey, 
deprived  of  every  comfort.  The  Infant  was  not  yet  able 
to  walk;  therefore  first  Mary  and  then  Joseph  were 
obliged  by  turns  to  carry  him  in  their  arms.  During 
their  journey  through  the  desert  of  Egypt,  their  only 


3 I 2  Other  Meditations. 

bed  at  night  was  the  bare  earth  in  the  open  air.  The 
Infant  weeps  with  the  cold,  and  Joseph  and  Mary  weep 
also  from  compassion.  And  who  would  not  weep,  in  see 
ing  the  Son  of  God,  poor  and  persecuted,  wandering 
about  on  the  earth,  that  he  may  not  be  killed  by  his 
enemies  ? 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

Ah,  dearest  Infant,  Thou  dost  weep ;  and  well  mayest  Thou 
weep,  in  seeing  Thyself  so  persecuted  by  those  men  whom  Thou 
hast  so  much  loved.  Alas,  my  God,  I  also  have  persecuted 
Thee  by  rny  sins  ;  but  now  I  love  Thee  more  than  myself;  and 
there  is  no  sorrow  that  afflicts  me  more  than  the  remembrance 
that  I  have  despised  Thee,  my  sovereign  Good.  Oh,  forgive 
me,  my  Jesus,  and  permit  me  to  carry  Thee  with  me  in  my 
heart  in  all  the  journey  of  life  that  I  have  yet  to  make,  and  then 
to  enter  together  with  Thee  into  eternity.  I  have  so  often 
driven  Thee  from  my  soul  by  offending  Thee;  but  now  I  love 
Thee  above  everything,  and  I  repent  above  every  other  evil  of 
having  offended  Thee.  My  beloved  Lord,  I  will  never  leave 
Thee  more  ;  but  do  Thou  give  me  strength  to  resist  temptations  ; 
permit  me  not  to  separate  myself  any  more  from  Thee  ;  let  me 
rather  die  than  ever  again  lose  Thy  favor.  O  Mary,  my  hope, 
make  me  always  live  and  die  in  the  love  of  God. 

MEDITATION  VIII. 

DECEMBER  23. 
The  Sojourn  of  the   Infant  Jesus  in   Egypt  and  in   Nazareth. 

Our  blessed  Redeemer  passed  his  first  infancy  in 
Egypt,  leading  there  for  seven  years  a  life  of  poverty  and 
contempt.  Joseph  and  Mary  were  both  strangers  and 
unknown  there,  having  there  neither  relatives  nor  friends; 
and  they  could  hardly  earn  their  daily  bread  by  the 
labor  of  their  hands.  Their  cottage  was  poor,  their  bed 
was  poor,  and  their  food  was  poor.  In  this  miserable 
hut  Mary  weaned  Jesus.  First  she  had  fed  him  from 


Novena  of  Christmas.   VIII. 

her  breast;  and  afterwards  with  her  hands  she  took  from 
the  porringer  a  little  bread  soaked  in  water,  and  then 
she  put  it  in  the  sacred  mouth  of  her  Son.  In  this  cot 
tage  she  made  him  his  first  little  garment;  she  took  off 
his  swaddling-clothes  and  began  to  dress  him.  In  this 
cottage  the  Child  Jesus  began  to  take  his  first  steps;  but 
he  kept  falling*many  times  and  trembling,  as  it  happens 
to  other  children.  Here  he  began  to  utter  his  first  words, 
but  in  stammering.  O  wonder  !  to  what  has  not  a  God 
reduced  himself  for  the  love  of  us  !  A  God  trembling 
and  falling  as  he  walks  !  a  God  stammering  whilst  he 

speaks ! 

Not  unlike  this  was  the  poor  and  abject  life  that  Jesus 
led  on  his  return  from  Egypt  to  the  house  of  Nazareth. 
Until  the  age  of  thirty  he  held  no  other  office  than  that 
of  a  simple  shop-boy,  being  obedient  to  Joseph  and  Mary. 
And  he   was  subject  to  them.1     Jesus   went   to   fetch    the 
water;  Jesus  opened  and  shut  up  the  shop;  Jesus  swept 
the  house;  he  collected  the   fragments  of  wood   for  the 
fire,  and  worked   all   day,  helping  Joseph  in  his  labors. 
O  wonder  !     A  God  serving  as  a  boy  !  a  God  sweeping 
the  house  !  a  God  working  and  sweating  to  plane  a  piece 
of  wood  !     And  who  is  this  ?    The  omnipotent  God,  who 
by  a  nod  created  the  world,  and  can  destroy  it  when  he 
pleases  !     Ought  not  the  mere  thought  of  this  to  move 
our  hearts  to  love  him  ?     How  sweet  it  must  have  been 
to  observe  the  devotion  with  which  Jesus  said  his  prayers, 
the   patience   with   which   he  labored,   the  promptitude 
with  which  he  obeyed,  the  modesty  with  which  he  took 
his  food,  and  the  sweetness  and  affability  with  which  he 
spoke  and  conversed  !     Oh,  every  word,  every  action  of 
Jesus  was  so  holy  that  it  filled  every  one  with   love  for 
him;  but  especially   Mary  and  Joseph,  who  were  con 
stantly  observing  him  ! 

1  "  Et  erat  subditus  illis."— Luke,  ii.  51. 


3 I 4  Other  Meditations. 

MEDITATION  IX. 

DECEMBER  24. 
The  Birth  of  the  Infant  Jesus  in  the  Cave  of  Bethlehem. 

The  edict  of  the  Roman  emperor  having  gone  forth, 
by  which  every  one  was  to  go  and  enroll  himself  in  his 
own  country,  Joseph  and  his  spouse  Mary  departed,  to 
go  and  enroll  themselves  in  Bethlehem.  O  God  !  how 
much  must  the  Blessed  Virgin  have  suffered  in  this 
journey,  which  was  of  four  days,  over  mountainous 
roads,  and  in  the  winter,  with  cold,  wind,  and  rain  ! 

As  soon  as  they  arrived  there,  the  time  of  her  delivery 
was  at  hand;  wherefore  Joseph  went  about  the  town 
looking  for  a  lodging,  where  Mary  could  bring  forth  her 
child.  But,  because  they  are  poor,  they  are  driven  away 
by  every  one;  they  are  even  driven  from  the  inn  where 
the  other  poor  had  been  received.  They  went  away 
therefore  from  the  town  in  the  night;  and  having  found 
a  cave,  Mary  entered  in  there.  But  Joseph  said  to  her: 
"  My  spouse,  how  can  you  pass  the  night  in  this  damp, 
cold  place  ?  Do  you  not  see  that  this  is  a  stable  for  ani 
mals  ?"  But  Mary  answered:  "  O  my  Joseph!  it  is 
nevertheless  true  that  this  shed  is  the  royal  palace  in 
which  the  Son  of  God  chooses  to  be  born." 

And  behold,  the  hour  of  the  birth  being  come,  whilst 
the  Holy  Virgin  was  kneeling  in  prayer,  she  saw  all  at 
once  the  cave  illuminated  by  a  brilliant  light;  she  cast 
her  eyes  upon  the  ground,  and  beheld  the  Son  of  God 
already  born,  a  tender  infant,  crying  and  trembling 
with  cold:  whereupon  she  first  adores  him  as  her  God; 
she  then  places  him  in  her  bosom,  and  wraps  him  in  the 
poor  swaddling-clothes  which  she  had  with  her;  and, 
finally,  she  lays  him  on  a  little  straw  in  the  mLnger.' 
Behold,  how  the  Son  of  the  eternal  Father  chose  to  be 
born  for  the  love  of  us. 


Novena  of  Christmas.  IX.  3  r  5 

St.  Mary  Magdalene  of  Pazzi  says  that  the  souls  enam 
oured  of  Jesus  Christ  ought  to  kneel  in  spirit  at  the  feet 
of  the  Holy  Child,  and  perform  for  him  the  same  office 
that  the  beasts  of  the  stable  of  Bethlehem  did,  which 
warmed  Jesus  with  their  breath;  they  should,  therefore, 
warm  him  also  with  the  sighs  of  love. 

Affections  and  Prayers. 

O  my  adorable  Infant !  I  should  not  have  the  boldness  to 
prostrate  myself  at  Thy  feet,  if  I  did  not  know  that  Thou  Thyself 
invitest  me  to  approach  Thee.  I  am  he  who  by  my  sins  have 
caused  Thee  to  shed  so  many  tears  in  the  stable  of  Bethlehem. 
But  since  Thou  earnest  upon  earth  to  forgive  repentant  sinners, 
forgive  me  also ;  for  I  repent  with  all  my  heart  of  having  de 
spised  Thee,  my  Saviour,  my  God,  who  art  so  good,  and  hast 
loved  me  so  much.  Thou  dost  dispense  great  graces  to  so  many 
souls  during  this  sacred  night;  do  Thou,  therefore,  console  my 
soul  also.  The  grace  I  desire  is  the  grace  to  love  Thee  from 
this  day  forth  with  my  whole  heart.  Oh,  inflame  me  wholly 
with  Thy  holy  love !  I  love  Thee,  my  God,  become  a  child  for 
me.  Oh,  permit  me  not  ever  to  cease  from  loving  Thee.  O 
Mary,  my  Mother,  thou  canst  do  all  things  by  thy  prayers;  I 
ask  thee  only  this,  to  pray  to  Jesus  for  me. 


3 1 6  Feast  of  the  Circumcision. 


QUwtljer  itteMtation  for  tlje  Jfrast  of  llje  OTircnmcision. 

i. 

Behold  the  eternal  Father,  having  sent  his  Son  to  suffer 
and  die  for  us,  commands  that  on  this  day  he  should  be 
circumcised,  and  should  begin  to  shed  his  divine  blood, 
which  he  was  to  shed  for  the  last  time  on  the  day  of  his 
death  upon  the  cross  in  a  sea  of  contumely  and  sorrow. 
And  wherefore  ?  In  order  that  this  innocent  Son  should 
thus  pay  the  penalties  which  we  have  deserved.  "  O 
admirable,"  sings  the  Holy  Church,  "admirable  conde 
scension  of  divine  pity  towards  us!  O  inestimable  love 
of  charity!  to  redeem  Thy  servant  Thou  hast  given  Thy 
Son  to  death!" 

O  eternal  God,  who  could  ever  have  bestowed  upon 
us  this  infinite  gift,  but  Thou  who  art  infinite  goodness 
and  infinite  love  ?  O  my  Lord,  if  in  giving  me  Thy  Son 
Thou  hast  given  me  the  dearest  treasure  Thou  hast,  it  is 
but  right  that  I  should  give  myself  entirely  to  Thee. 
Yes,  my  God,  I  give  Thee  my  whole  self;  accept  of  me, 
I  pray  Thee,  and  let  me  never  depart  from  Thee  again. 

II. 

Behold,  on  the  other  hand,  the  divine  Son,  who,  full  of 
humility  and  love  towards  us,  embraces  the  bitter  death 
destined  for  him  in  order  to  save  us  sinners  from  eternal 
death,  and  willingly  begins  on  this  day  to  make  satisfac 
tion  for  us  to  the  divine  justice  with  the  price  of  his 
blood.  He  humbled  Himself,  says  the  Apostle,  becoming 
obedient  unto  death,  even  to  the  death  of  the  cross.1 

"  Humiliavit  semetipsum,  factus  obediens  usque  ad  mortem,  mor 
tem  autem  crucis." — Phil.  ii.  8. 


Feast  of  the  Circumcision.  3 1 7 

Thou,  therefore,  O  my  Jesus,  hast  accepted  death  for 
my  sake;  what,  then,  shall  I  do  ?  shall  I  continue  to 
offend  Thee  by  my  sins  ?  No,  my  Redeemer,  I  will  no 
longer  be  ungrateful  to  Thee.  I  am  sorry  from  my 
heart  that  I  have  caused  Thee  so  much  bitterness  in 
times  past.  I  love  Thee,  O  infinite  Goodness,  and  for 
the  future  I  will  never  cease  to  love  Thee. 

III. 

Our  Redeemer  said,  Greater  love  c-m  no  man  have  than 
to  lay  down  his  life  for  Ms  friends.1  But  Thou,  O  my 
Jesus,  says  St.  Paul,  hast  shown  greater  love  than  this 
towards  us,  by  giving  Thy  life  for  us  who  were  Thy 
enemies. 

Behold  one  of  them,  O  Lord,  at  Thy  feet.  How  many 
times  have  I,  a  miserable  sinner,  renounced  Thy  friend 
ship  because  I  would  not  obey  Thee  !  I  now  see  the 
evil  I  have  done;  forgive  me,  O  my  Jesus.  Would  that  I 
could  die  of  sorrow  for  my  sins!  I  now  love  Thee  with 
my  whole  soul,  and  I  desire  nothing  else  but  to  love 
Thee  and  to  please  Thee.  O  Mary,  Mother  of  God  and 
my  Mother,  pray  to  Jesus  for  me. 

1  "  Majorem  hac  dilectionem  nemo  habet,  ut  animam  suam  ponat 
quis  pro  amicis:  suis." — John,  xv.  13. 


3 i  8  Feast  of  the  Epiphany. 


&noti)er  Habitation  for  tlje  J^ast  0t  tlje  <£jrijjf)ann. 

i. 

The  Son  of  God  is  born  humble  and  poor  in  a  stable. 
There  indeed  the  angels  of  heaven  acknowledge  him, 
singing,  Glory  to  God  in  the  highest;1  but  the  inhabitants 
of  the  earth,  for  whose  salvation  Jesus  was  born,  leave 
him  neglected:  only  a  few  shepherds  come  and  acknowl 
edge  him,  and  confess  him  to  be  their  Saviour.  But  our 
loving  Redeemer  desired  from  the  very  beginning  to 
communicate  to  us  the  grace  of  redemption,  and  there 
fore  he  begins  to  make  himself  known  even  to  the  Gen 
tiles,  who  neither  knew  him  nor  expected  him.  For 
this  purpose  he  sends  the  star  to  give  notice  to  the  holy 
Magi,  enlightening  them  at  the  same  time  with  internal 
light,  in  order  that  they  might  come  and  acknowledge 
and  adore  him  as  their  Redeemer.  This  was  the  first 
and  sovereign  grace  bestowed  upon  us;  our  calling  to 
the  true  faith. 

O  Saviour  of  the  world,  what  would  have  become  of 
us  if  Thou  hadst  not  come  to  enlighten  us  ?  we  should 
be  like  our  forefathers,  who  worshipped  as  gods  animals, 
stones,  and  wood,  and  consequently  we  should  have 
been  all  damned.  I  give  Thee  thanks  to-day  on  the  part 
of  all  men 


II. 


Behold,  the  Magi  without  delay  set  out  on  their  jour 
ney;  and  by  means  of  the  star  they  arrive  at  the  place 
Where  the  Holy  Infant  is  lying:   They  found  the  child  with 
"Gloria  in  altissimis  Deo," — Luke,  ii.  14. 


Feast  of  the  Epiphany.  3 1 9 

Mary}  They  find  there  only  a  poor  maiden,  and  a  poor 
infant  wrapped  in  poor  swaddling-clothes;  on  entering 
into  that  abode,  which  was  a  stable  for  beasts,  they  feel 
an  interior  joy,  and  their  hearts  are  drawn  towards  this 
sweet  infant.  That  straw,  that  poverty,  those  cries  of 
their  Infant  Saviour,  are  all  darts  of  love  and  fire  to 
their  enlightened  hearts. 

Yes,  my  Infant  Jesus,  the  more  humbled  and  poor  I 
behold  Thee,  the  more  dost  Thou  inflame  me  with  Thy 
love. 

III. 

The  Infant  looks  upon  these  holy  pilgrims  with  a  joy 
ful  countenance,  and  thus  shows  that  he  accepts  these 
first-fruits  of  his  redemption.  The  divine  Mother  is  also 
silent,  but  by  her  smiling  looks  welcomes  them,  and 
thanks  them  for  the  homage  done  to  her  Son.  They 
adore  him  also  in  silence,  and  acknowledge  him  for 
their  Saviour  and  their  God,  offering  him  gifts  of  gold, 
frankincense,  and  myrrh. 

O  Jesus,  my  Infant  King  !  I  also  adore  Thee,  and  offer 
Thee  my  miserable  heart.  Accept  of  it  and  change  it. 
Make  it  wholly  Thine  own,  so  that  it  may  love  nothing 
but  Thee.  My  sweet  Saviour,  save  me,  and  let  my  sal 
vation  be  to  love  Thee  always  and  without  reserve.  O 
Mary,  most  holy  Virgin  !  I  hope  for  this  grace  from 
thee. 

1  "Invenerunt  Puerum  cum  Maria." — Matt.  ii.  n. 


320        Feast  of  the  Holy  Name  of  Jesus. 


&notl)er  ifteMtation  for  ll)e  feast  of  tlje  4{joi|i  3£ 
of  Jksus.* 

i. 

The  name  of  Jesus  was  given  to  the  Incarnate  Word 
not  by  men,  but  by  God  himself:  And  his  name  shall  be 
called  Jesus,1  that  is,  Saviour.  A  name  of  gladness,  a 
name  of  hope,  a  name  of  love. 

A  name  of  gladness,  because  if  the  remembrance  of 
past  transgressions  afflicts  us,  this  name  comforts  us,  re 
minding  us  that  the  Son  of  God  became  man  for  this 
purpose,  to  make  himself  our  Saviour. 

My  beloved  Saviour,  Thou  earnest  down  from  heaven 
to  seek  me,  and  I,  a  miserable  sinner,  have  turned  my 
back  upon  Thee  and  despised  Thy  grace  and  Thy  love  ! 
But,  notwithstanding  this,  Thou  wiliest  my  salvation,  O 
my  Jesus  !  and  I  thank  Thee  for  it  and  love  Thee. 

II. 

A  name  of  hope,  because  he  that  prays  to  the  Eternal 
Father  in  the  name  of  Jesus  may  hope  for  every  grace 
he  asks  for:  If  you  ask  the  Father  anything  in  My  name,  He 
will  give  it  you? 

O  my  God  !  trusting  to  this  promise,  in  the  name  of 
Jesus  I  ask  of  Thee   the  pardon  of  my  sins,  holy  perse 
verance,  and  the  gift  of  Thy  love.     Grant,  above  all, 
that  the  remainder  of  my  life  may  not  be  spent  in  dis 
pleasing  Thee,  but  only  in  loving  Thee  and  doing  Thy 
will,  as  Thou  deservest  that  I  should  do. 
1  "  Et  vocabis  nomen  ejus  Jesum." — Luke,  i.  31. 
*  "Si  quid  petieritis  Patrem  in  nomine  meo,  dabit  vobis." — -John, 
xvi.  23. 


*  On  page  151  there  is  a  discourse,  and  on  page  255  a  meditation, 
and  at  the  end  of  the  volume,  page  451,  a  novena  on  the  same  sub 
ject.— ED, 


Feast  of  the  Holy  Name  of  Jesus.        321 


III. 

A  name  of  love.  St.  Bernardine  of  Sienna  says  that 
the  name  of  Jesus  is  a  sign  that  represents  to  us  how 
much  God  has  done  for  the  love  of  us.  For  the  name  of 
fesus  brings  to  our  remembrance  all  the  sufferings  which 
Jesus  has  endured  for  us  in  his-  life  and  at  his  death. 
Wherefore  a  devout  writer  says  to  him,  u  O  Jesus  !  how 
much  hath  it  cost  Thee  to  be  Jesus, — that  is  to  say,  my 
Saviour  !" J 

0  my  Jesus  !  I  beseech  Thee,  do  Thou  write  Thy  name 
on  my  poor  heart  and  on  my  tongue,  in  order  that  when 
I  am  tempted  to  sin,  I  may  resist  by  invoking  Thee;  so 
that   if  I   am  tempted   to  despair,  I  may  trust   in  Thy 
merits;  and  that  if  I  feel  myself  tepid  in  loving  Thee> 
Thy  name  may  inflame  my  heart  at  the  recollection  of 
how  much  Thou  hast  loved  me.     Thy  name,  then,  will 
always  be  my  defence,   my  comfort,   and  the  fire   that 
shall  keep  me  always  inflamed  with   Thy  love.     Make 
me,  therefore,  always  to  call  Thee  my  Jesus,  and  to  live 
and  die  with  Thy  holy  name  on  my  lips,  saying  even 
with  my  last  breath,  "I  love  Thee,  my  Jesus;  my  Jesus, 
I  love  Thee."     O  Mary,  my  Queen  !  make  me  when  I  am 
dying  invoke  thee  continually,   together  with  thy  Son 
Jesus. 

1  "O  Jesu!  quanti  tibi  constitit  esse  Jesum,  Salvatorem  meum!" 

21 


.22  Hymns. 


HYMNS 


Ode  on  the  Birth  of  Our  Saviour  Jesus  Christ. 

WHEN  Jesus  first  appeared  on  earth 

A  babe  in  Bethlehem, 
The  winter  midnight  of  his  birth 
Did  fair  as  noontide  seem  ; 
Ne'er  shone  the  stars  so  bright 
As  on  that  wondrous  night : 
Swift  to  the  East  the  brightest  of  them  all 
Darts  through  the  sky,  the  Magi  kings  to  call. 

Awakened  by  th'  unwonted  light, 

The  startled  songster  birds 
Broke  the  lone  stillness  of  the  night 
With  songs  like  angels'  words; 
While  chirping  in  the  field, 
The  grasshoppers  revealed 
The  joy  of  earth  :  "Jesus  is  born  !"  they  cried  ; 
"Our  God  is  born  !"  the  warbling  birds  replied. 

Fresh,  as  when  washed  by  summer  showers, 

Now  bud  the  roses  sweet ; 
And  thousand,  thousand  fragrant  flowers 
The  Infant  Saviour  greet ; 
While  e'en  the  arid  hay 
That  in  the  manger  lay 

Decked  out  with  leaf  and  bloom  the  poor  abode, 
And  kissed  the  infant  members  of  its  God. 

In  fair  Engaddi's  flowery  clime 

Now  blooms  the  fragrant  vine, 


Hymns.  323 

And  ripening  grapes,  ere  nature's  time, 
In  purple  clusters  twine. 

Sweet  Babe!  divinely  fair! 

Thou  art  Love's  cluster  rare  ! 
Coolness  to  burning  lips  Thou  dost  impart, 
And  warmth  of  love  divine  to  frozen  heart. 


Now  gentle  peace  reigned  far  and  wide, 

In  joy  and  liberty ; 
The  sheep  and  lion  side  by  side 
Were  pastured  happily ; 
The  kid,  with  frolic  gay, 
Near  tiger  fierce  can  play, 
And  ox  with  savage  bear  secure  from  harm, 
And  lambkin  near  the  wolf  without  alarm. 

Joy,  too,  awoke  at  Jesus'  birth, 
And  roamed  creation  free, 
In  heaven,  in  every  tribe  of  earth, 
O'er  every  land  and  sea; 
And  many  a  sleeper  smiled 
As  when  a  little  child, 

And  felt  his  heart  rebounding  in  his  breast, 
While  dreams  of  gladness  mingled  with  his  rest. 

The  watchful  shepherds  kept  by  night 

The  flocks  of  Bethlehem, 
When  lo !  an  angel  clothed  in  light 
Appeared,  and  said  to  them, 
"  Good  shepherds  !  do  not  fear, 
Our  gladsome  tidings  hear; 
For  peace  and  joy  upon  the  world  arise, 
And  sinful  earth  becomes  a  paradise  ! 

"To  you  this  day  in  Bethlehem 
A  Saviour  king  is  born  ; 
The  long-expected, — to  redeem 
And  save  a  world  forlorn. 


324  Hymns. 

Then  haste,  and  you  will  find 

The  Saviour  of  mankind, 
An  infant,  swathed,  and  lying  in  a  stall, 
Amongst  the  poor,  the  poorest  one  of  all." 

The  angel  choirs  in  glittering  throng 

From  heaven  to  earth  descend, 
And  in  one  sweet  melodious  song 
Their  countless  voices  blend. 
"  Glory  to  God  above  ! 
Born  is  the  King  of  Love! 

Peace  be,  on  earth,  to  men  who  have  good  will ; 
Let  grateful  concerts  earth  and  heaven  fill !" 

Each  shepherd's  heart  within  his  breast 

Bounded  with  love  inflamed, 
And  eagerly  unto  the  rest 

His  ardor  thus  proclaimed  : 
"  Why  longer  thus  delay  ? 
Come,  haste,  away,  away  ! 
For  ah  !  I  languish  with  desire  untold 
My  Infant  God  and  Saviour  to  behold  I" 

The  shepherds  o'er  the  hill-top  hie, 

Like  herd  of  startled  deer  ; 

With  joy  they  soon  the  cave  descry, 

And  to  the  crib  draw  near; 

They  see  that  Infant  sweet, 

Witn  Mary  at  his  feet, 

And  looks  of  love  all  beaming  from  his  eyes 
Appear  like  rays  of  bliss  from  paradise. 

Astonished,  raptured,  and  enchained 

At  this  great  sight  they  saw, 
Long  time  the  shepherds  thus  remained 
In  solemn  silent  awe  ; 

Then  sweet  and  loving  sighs 
Deep  from  their  hearts  arise, 

While  mingled  tears  and  words  their  love  confess, 
And  in  a  thousand  fervent  acts  express. 


Hymns.  325 

Then  entering  the  poor  abode, 
With  knees  devoutly  bent, 
They  humbly  to  the  Infant  God 
Their  simple  gifts  present ; 
And  Jesus  does  not  scorn 
The  poor  and  lowly-born, 
But  raising  up  to  them  his  tiny  hand, 
He  smiles  a  blessing  on  this  humble  band. 

Then  do  the  flames  of  heavenly  fire, 

Which  in  their  bosoms  glow, 
Such  tender  confidence  inspire 
As  love  alone  can  know. 
They  venture  to  embrace 
That  Child  of  heavenly  grace, 
And  on  his  hands  and  feet — O  happiness! — 
A  thousand  times  their  fervent  lips  they  press. 

Then  in  their  pipes  these  joyful  swains 

Such  heavenly  music  breathed, 
And  rivalling  angelic  strains, 
With  tuneful  Mary  wreathed 
In  sweetest  harmony 
Such  soothing  lullaby, 
That  slumber  o'er  the  infant  eyelids  crept, 
And  Jesus  closed  his  lovely  eyes,  and  slept. 

The  lullaby  these  shepherds  blest 

To  Jesus  sung  was  this  ; 
Which  gently,  softly,  lulled  to  rest 

The  Infant  God  of  bliss. 
But  while  I  now  repeat 

This  cradle-song  so  sweet, 

Think  that  with  them  beside  the  crib  you  kneel, 
And  pray  the  ardors  of  their  love  to  feel. 

"Gentle  slumber,  from  above, 

Hush  to  sleep  your  heavenly  king, 
Born  an  Infant  for  our  love ! 

Hasten,  sleep,  soft  slumbers  bring  ! 


26  Hymns. 

"  Lovely  Jewel  of  my  heart ! 

Would  that  I  could  be  the  sleep, 
Softly,  swiftly,    to  impart 

Closing  eyes  and  slumbers  deep. 


"But,  if  love  of  men  to  gain, 

Thus  a  babe  Thou  deign 'st  to  be, 
Love  alone  can  sing  the  strain, 

Which  can  slumbers  bring  to  Thee! 

"  Since,  then,  love  has  power  on  Thee, 

Lo  !  my  heart  and  soul  are  Thine! 

Yes  !     1  love  Thee,  love— but  see  ! — 

Sleep  has  closed  those  eyes  divine. 


"  Thee,  my  God,  atone  I  love ! 

Treasure  !     Beauty  !     Love,  1  .  . 

***** 


Then  breaking  off  their  loving  strain, 

All  happy  and  content, 
They  hastened  to  their  flocks  again, 
Rejoicing  as  they  went; 
But  such  a  heavenly  fire, 
So  ardent  a  desire 

Of  this  dear  Infant  in  their  bosoms  burns 
That  to  their  thoughts  he  evermore  returns. 

In  hell  alone,  where  mortal  hate, 

Despair,  and  terror  dwell, 
And  in  the  hearts  as  obstinate 
As  demons  loosed  from  hell, 
The  splendors  of  that  night 
Awakened  strange  affright ; 
Hardened  in  guilt,  they  trembled  with  dismay; 
They  hate  the  light  which  shows  to  heaven  the  way. 


Hymns.  327 

Jesus !    Thou  art  a  Sun  of  Love, 

Whence  beams  of  mercy  dart ; 
Thy  rays  enlighten  from  above, 
And  warm  the  sinner's  heart. 
Though  black  and  hard  his  soul, 
As  changed  to  earthy  coal, 
Yet  if  repentant  once  he  turns  to  Thee, 
Thou  show'st  still  more  Thy  loving  clemency. 

But,  sweetest  child,  ah !  Jesus,  say, 

Why  flow  those  infant  tears  ? 
Yes,  'tis  that  1  may  wash  away, 
My  sins  of  bygone  years  ! 
Alas  !  what  have  I  done  ? 
Unkind,  ungrateful  one! 
I  sinned,  I  sinned,  yet  still  Thou  lovedst  me : 
Would  I  had  died  ere  I  offended  Thee! 

Oh  for  a  fountain  flowing  o'er 

With  tears  both  night  and  day, 
My  sins  unnumbered  to  deplore, 
And  weep  them  all  away 
To  bathe  my  Infant's  feet, 
And  by  my  sobs  entreat 

His  mercy!  Then,  oh,  grant  me  once  to  hear 
The  word  Thou  art  forgiven  ;  do  not  fear  / 

Thrice  blest,  thrice  happy  should  I  be 

With  this  too  favored  lot ! 
All  else  on  earth  would  seem  to  me 
Not  worth  one  care,  one  thought. 
Thou  Hope  of  the  distressed, 
Hear,  Mary,  my  request ! 
Cease  not  to  pray  for  this  poor  sinful  one, 
Who  asks  to  love  once  more  thy  Blessed  Son  ! 


328  Hymns. 


II. 

The  Madonna's  Lullaby. 

Mary  sings,  the  ravished  heavens 
Hush  the  music  of  their  spheres  ; 

Soft  her  voice,  her  beauty  fairer 
Than  the  glancing  stars  appears: 

While  to  Jesus,  slumbering  nigh, 

Thus  she  sings  her  lullaby  : 

"  Sleep,  my  Babe,  my  God,  my  Treasure, 

Gently  sleep  ;  but  ah  !  the  sight 
With  its  beauty  so  transports  me, 

I  am  dying  with  delight ; 
Thou  canst  not  Thy  mother  see, 
Yet  Thou  breathest  flames  to  me. 

"If  within  your  lids  unfolded, 

Slumbering  eyes,  you  seem  so  fair ; 
When  upon  my  gaze  you  open, 

How  shall  I  your  beauty  bear? 
Ah  !  I  tremble  when  you  wake, 
Lest  my  heart  with  love  should  break. 

Cheeks  than  sweetest  roses  sweeter, 
Mouth  where  lurks  a  smile  divine, 

Though  the  kiss  my  Babe  should  waken, 
I  must  press  those  lips  to  mine. 

Pardon,  Dearest,  if  I  say 

Mother's  love  will  take  no  nay." 

As  she  ceased,  the  gentle  Virgin 
Clasped  the  Infant  to  her  breast, 

And,  upon  his  radiant  forehead 
Many  a  loving  kiss  impressed, 

Jesus  woke  and  on  her  face 

Fixed  a  look  of  heavenly  grace. 


Hymns.  329 

Ah !  that  look,  those  eyes,  that  beauty, 
How  they  pierce  the  Mother's  heart ! 

Shafts  of  love  from  every  feature 
Through  her  gentle  bosom  dart. 

Heart  of  stone  !  can  I  behold 

Mary's  love,  and  still  be  cold  ? 

Where,  my  soul,  thy  sense,  thy  reason  ? 

When  will  these  delays  be  o'er  ? 
All  things  else,  how  fair  so  ever, 

Are  but  smoke  :  resist  no  more! 
Yes  !  'tis  done  !    I  yield  my  arms 
Captive  to  those  double  charms. 

If,  alas,  O  heavenly  beauty! 

Now  so  late  those  charms  I  learn, 
Now  at  least,  and  ever,  ever 

With  thy  love  my  heart  will  burn, 
For  the  Mother  and  the  Child, 
Rose  and  Lily  undefiled. 

Plant  and  fruit,  and  fruit  and  blossom, 

I  am  theirs,  and  they  are  mine ; 
For  no  other  prize  I  labor, 

For  no  other  bliss  I  pine. 
Love  can  every  pain  requite, 
Love  alone  is  full  delight. 


230  Hymns. 


m. 

St.  Joseph  addressing  the  Divine  Child  Jesus. 

Since  Thou  the  name  of  Father  hast  bestowed 
On  me,  my  Jesus,  let  me  call  Thee  Son. 

My  Son  !    I  love— I  love  Thee  ;  yes,  my  God  ! 
Forever  wi'.'  I  love  Thee,  dearest  One! 

Thou  art  my  God  !  I  humbly  Thee  adore; 

But,  as  my  Son,  ah  !   bid  me  kiss  Thy  face, 
And  make  my  heart  remain  for  evermore 

Close  bound  with  sweetest  chains  in  Thy  embrace  ! 

Since  Thou  hast  deigned  to  choose  me  here  below 
The  nurse  and  guardian  of  Thy  life  to  be, 

My  sweetest  Love  !  my  Good  !   ah  !  let  me  know 
What  wiliest  Thou  ?— what  dost  Thou  ask  of  me? 

All,  all  I  am,  to  Thee  I  now  resign  ; 

My  love  I  consecrate  to  Thee  alone; 
And  know,  my  heart  is  mine  no  more— Tis  Thine ; 

My  very  life  I  do  not  call  my  own. 

Since  Thou  art  pleased  to  share  my  humble  home, 
And  be  on  earth  companion  of  my  love, 

Well  may  I  hope,  dear  Jesus,  to  become 
Thy  loved  companion  in  Thy  home  above. 


Hymns.  332 


IV. 

To  the  Infant  Jesus  in  the  Crib 

Oh,  how  I  love  Thee,  Lord  of  Heaven  above ! 
Too  well  hast  Thou  deserved  to  gain  my  love  ; 
Sweet  Jesus,  I  would  die  for  love  of  Thee, 
For  Thou  didst  not  disdain  to  die  for  me. 

I  leave  Thee,  faithless  world, — farewell  !  depart! 
This  lovely  Babe  has  loved  and  won  my  heart. 
I  love  Thee,  loving  God,  who  from  above 
Didst  come  on  earth,  a  Babe,  to  gain  my  love. 

Thou  tremblest,  darling  Child,  and  yet  I  see 
Thy  heart  is  all  on  fire  with  love  for  me : 
Love  makes  Thee  thus  a  child,  my  Saviour  dear  ; 
Love  only  brought  Thee  down  to  suffer  here  ; 

Love  conquered  Thee,  Great  God,  love  tied  Thy  hands, 
A  captive  here  for  me,  in  swathing-bands  ; 
And  love,  strong  love,  awaits  Thy  latest  breath, 
To  make  Thee  die  for  me  a  cruel  death. 


33  2  Hymns. 


v. 

To  the  Infant  Jesus. 

O  King  of  Heaven  !  from  starry  throne  descending, 
Thou  takest  refuge  in  that  wretched  cave  ; 

0  God  of  bliss  !  I  see  Thee  cold  and  trembling, 
What  pain  it  cost  Thee  fallen  man  to  save! 

Thou,  of  a  thousand  worlds  the  great  Creator, 
Dost  now  the  pain  of  cold  and  want  endure  ; 

Thy  poverty  but  makes  Thee  more  endearing, 
For  well  I  know  'tis  love  has  made  Thee  poor. 

1  see  Thee  leave  Thy  Heavenly  Father's  bosom, 
But  whither  has  Thy  love  transported  Thee  ? 

Upon  a  little  straw  I  see  Thee  lying ; 

Why  suffer  thus?     Tis  all  for  love  of  me. 

But  if  it  is  Thy  will  for  me  to  suffer, 
And  by  these  sufferings  my  heart  to  move, 

Wherefore,  my  Jesus,  do  I  see  Thee  weeping  ? 
Tis  not  for  pain  Thou  weepest,  but  for  love. 

Thou  weepest  thus  to  see  me  so  ungrateful ; 

My  sins  have  pierced  Thee  to  the  very  core-; 
I  once  despised  Thy  love,  but  now  I  love  Thee, 

I  love  but  Thee  ;  then,  Jesus,  weep  no  more. 

Thou  sleepest,  Lord,  but  Thy  heart  ever  watches, 
No  slumber  can  a  heart  so  loving  take  ; 

But  tell  me,  darling  Babe,  of  what  Thou  thinkest, 
"  I  think,"  he  says,  "  of  dying  for  Thy  sake." 

Is  it  for  me  that  Thou  dost  think  of  dying ! 

What,  then,  O  Jesus  !  can  I  but  love  Thee  ? 
Mary,  my  hope !  If  I  love  him  too  little, — 

Be  not  indignant, — love  him  thou  for  me. 


It  is  not  certain  that  this  devotion  is  by  St.  Alphonsus; 
but  the  tradition  in  the  Congregation  of  the  Most  Holy 
Redeemer  has  always  ascribed  it  to  him.  It  is  found  in 
the  Italian  Directory  of  the  Novices,  which  was  certainly 
written  by  the  saint,  and  which  has  always  been  used  in 
the  novitiate  of  the  Congregation. — ED. 


334  The  Way  of  Bethlehem. 


0lations  of  tfje  Infant 


V.  Incline  unto  my  aid,  O  God. 
-/?.  O  Lord,  make  haste  to  help  me. 
Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

STATION  I. 
The  Son  of  God  becomes  an  Infant. 

O  Jesus,  born  of  Virgin  bright, 

Immortal  glory  be  to  Thee; 
Praise  to  the  Father  infinite, 

And  Holy  Ghost  eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider  that  the  Son  of  God,  the  Infinite  Majesty,  the 
Creator  of  the  world,  and  who  has  need  of  no  one,  became 
incarnate  to  save  lost  man  by  his  sufferings,  and  was  for 
nine  months  enclosed  as  a  little  Infant  in  the  most  chaste 
womb  of  Mary. 

Affections, 

O  most  amiable  Infant  Jesus,  God  and  Man,  it  was  Thy 
burning  love  for  me  which  urged  Thee  do  do  all  this. 
I  give  Thee  thanks;  and  I  beseech  Thee,  by  Thy  Incar 
nation,  to  give  me  the  grace  to  correspond  to  such  great 
goodness. 

O  my  sweetest  Love,  I  am  sorry  that  I  have  offended 
Thee.  I  desire  to  be  always  faithful  in  Thy  service:  en 
kindle  in  me  Thy  love;  make  me  chaste  and  holy 


The  Way  of  Bethlehem.  335 

O  Mary,  grant  that  I  may  belong  entirely  to  thee  and 
to  thy  Son  Jesus. 

Hail  Mary,  etc.     Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

V.  Blessed  is  the  womb  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  which 
bore  the  Son  of  the  Eternal  Father. 

R.  And  blessed  are  the  breasts  which  gave  suck  to 
Christ  our  Lord. 

O  Jesus,  ever  sweetest  Lord. 

And  ever  loving  still; 
From  this  dear  crib  sweet  drops  of  love 

Into  my  heart  distil. 

STATION  II. 
Jesus  is  born  an  Infant. 

O  Jesus,  born  of  Virgin  bright, 

Immortal  glory  be  to  Thee  ; 
Praise  to  the  Father  infinite, 

And  Holy  Ghost  eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider  that  Jesus  at  his  birth  has  not  even  a  wretched 
cabin,  such  as  the  poorest  have;  but  is  born  in  a  cold 
cavern,  and  is  laid  in  a  manger  upon  straw. 

Affections. 

O  most  holy  Infant  Jesus,  I  thank  Thee  for  this;  and 
I  beseech  Thee,  by  Thy  most  poor  and  bitter  birth, 
grant  that  I  may  reap  the  fruits  of  Thy  coming  on  this 
earth. 

O  my  sweetest  Love,  I  am  sorry  that  I  have  offended 
Thee.  I  desire  to  be  always  faithful  in  Thy  service:  en 
kindle  in  me  Thy  love;  make  me  chaste  and  holy. 

O  Mary,  grant  that  I  may  belong  entirely  to  thee  and 
to  thy  Son  Jesus. 

Hail  Mary,  etc.     Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 


336  The  Way  of  Bethlehem. 

V.  Blessed  is  the  womb  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  which 
bore  the  Son  of  the  Eternal  Father. 

R.  And  blessed  are  the  breasts  which  gave  suck  to 
Christ  our  Lord. 

O  Jesus,  ever  sweetest  Lord, 

And  ever  loving  still; 
From  this  dear  crib  sweet  drops  of  love 

Into  my  heart  distil. 

STATION  III. 
Jesus  is  suckled. 

O  Jesus,  born  of  Virgin  bright, 

Immortal  glory  be  to  Thee; 
Praise  to  the  Father  infinite, 

And  Holy  Ghost  eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider  that  God,  Majesty  itself,  who  gives  food  to 
men  and  beasts,  is  born  an  Infant,  and  has  recourse  to 
Mary  for  his  food;  and  he,  through  whom  not  a  spar 
row  hungers,  is  fed  with  a  little  milk. 

Affections. 

O  most  lovely  Infant,  Thou  takest  milk,  to  be  changed 
into  that  flesh  which  one  day  is  to  be  bruised  and  torn 
for  me.  I  thank  Thee  for  this  goodness;  and  I  beseech 
Thee  by  this  purest  milk,  grant  me  grace  to  act  always 
with  a  pure  intention  of  pleasing  Thee,  even  as  Thou 
didst  ever  act  with  the  sole  aim  of  obtaining  my  eternal 
happiness. 

O  my  sweetest  Love,  I  am  sorry  that  I  have  offended 
Thee.  I  desire  to  be  always  faithful  in  Thy  service:  en 
kindle  in  me  Thy  love;  make  me  chaste  and  holy. 

O  Mary,  grant  that  I  may  belong  entirely  to  thee  and 
to  thy  Son  Jesus. 


The  Way  of  Bethlehem.  337 

Hail  Mary,  etc.     Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

V.  Blessed  is  the  womb  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  which 
bore  the  Son  of  the  Eternal  Father. 

R.  And  blessed  are  the  breasts  which  gave  suck  to 
Christ  our  Lord. 

O  Jesus,  ever  sweetest  Lord, 

And  ever  loving  still; 
From  this  dear  crib  sweet  drops  of  love 

Into  my  heart  distil. 

STATION  IV. 
Jesus  is  wrapped  in  Swaddling-clothes. 

O  Jesus,  born  o.f  Virgin  bright, 

Immortal  glory  be  to  Thee  ; 
Praise  to  the  Father  infinite, 

And  Holy  Ghost  eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider  that  the  Infinite  God,  whom  the  heavens 
cannot  contain,  made  an  Infant  for  us,  vouchsafed  to  be 
wrapped  by  Mary  in  swaddling-clothes,  and  covered 
with  poor  rags.  And  thus  the  hands  and  feet  of  God 
by  swathing-bands  are  tied. 

Affections. 

O  gentlest  Infant,  Thou  art  tied  in  swathing-bands  to 
deliver  my  soul  from  the  chains  of  sin  and  hell.  I  thank 
Thee;  grant,  by  Thy  holy  humility,  that,  casting  away 
every  other  bond,  I  may  ever  live  bound  and  united  to 

Thee. 

O  my  sweetest  Love,  I  am  sorry  that  I  have  offended 
Thee.  I  desire  always  to  be  faithful  in  Thy  service  : 
enkindle  in  me  Thy  love;  make  me  chaste  and  holy. 

O  Mary,  grant  that  I  may  belong  entirely  to  thee  and 
to  thy  Son  Jesus. 
22 


338  The  Way  of  Bethlehem. 

Hail  Mary,  etc.     Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

V.   Blessed   is   the  womb  of  the  Virgin   Mary,  which 
bore  the  Son  of  the  eternal  Father. 

R.  And  blessed   are  the  breasts  which  gave  suck  to 
Christ  our  Lord. 

O  Jesus,  ever  sweetest  Lord, 

And  ever  loving  still; 
From  this  dear  crib  sweet  drops  of  love 

Into  my  heart  distil. 


STATION  V. 
Jesus  is  circumcised. 

O  Jesus,  born  of  Virgin  bright, 

Immortal  glory  be  to  Thee  ; 
Praise  to  the  Father  infinite, 

And  Holy  Ghost  eternally. 

Consider  'a  tion . 

Consider  that  the  Infant  Jesus,  eight  days  after  his 
birth,  showed  himself  to  be  even  then  our  Saviour,  by 
shedding  for  us  his  divine  blood  in  the  Circumcision. 

Affections. 

O  most  merciful  Infant  God,  I  give  Thee  thanks;  and 
I  beseech  Thee,  by  the  pain  which  Thou  didst  feel,  and 
by  the  blood  which  Thou  didst  shed  in  Thy  Circumci 
sion,  grant  me  grace  and  power  to  pluck  out  of  my 
heart,  and  to  cast  from  it,  all  earthly  affections. 

O  my  sweetest  love,  I  am  sorry  that  I  have  offended 
Thee.  I  desire  to  be  always  faithful  in  Thy  service  : 
enkindle  in  me  Thy  love;  make  me  chaste  and  holy. 

O  Mary,  grant  that  I  may  belong  entirely  to  thee  and 
to  thy  Son  Jesus. 

Hail  Mary,  etc.     Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 


The  Way  of  Bethlehem.  339 

V.  Blessed  is  the  womb  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  which 
bore  the  Son  of  the  eternal  Father. 

R.  And  blessed  are  the  breasts  which  gave  suck  to 
Christ  our  Lord. 

O  Jesus,  ever  sweetest  Lord, 

And  ever  loving  still; 
From  this  dear  crib  sweet  drops  of  love 

Into  my  heart  distil. 


STATION  VI. 
Jesus  is  adored  by  the  Magi. 

O  Jesus,  born  of  Virgin  bright, 

Immortal  glory  be  to  Thee  ; 
Praise  to  the  Father  infinite, 

And  Holy  Ghost  eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider  that  the  Infant  God  is  visited  and  adored  by 
the  Magi,  who,  though  Gentiles,  were  enlightened  by 
faith  to  acknowledge  this  Man-God  for  their  Saviour, 
and  offered  him  gold,  frankincense,  and  myrrh. 

Affections. 

Most  adorable  Redeemer,  I  too  have  received  from 
Thee  this  great  gift  of  faith.  I  thank  Thee  for  it;  and  I 
beseech  Thee,  by  the  glory  of  this  Thy  manifestation, 
grant  that,  like  the  Magi,  I  may  correspond  and  be 
faithful  to  Thy  grace. 

O  my  sweetest  Love,  I  am  sorry  that  I  have  offended 
Thee.  I  desire  to  be  always  faithful  in  Thy  service  : 
enkindle  in  me  Thy  love;  make  me  chaste  and  holy. 

O  Mary,  grant  that  I  may  belong  entirely  to  thee  and 
to  thy  Son  Jesus. 

Hail  Mary,  etc.     Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 


340  The  Way  of  Bethlehem. 

V.  Blessed  is  the  womb  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  which 
bore  the  Son  of  the  eternal  Father. 

R.  And  blessed  are  the  breasts  which  gave  suck  to 
Christ  our  Lord. 

O  Jesus,  ever  sweetest  Lord, 

And  ever  loving  still  ; 
From  this  dear  crib  sweet  drops  of  love 

Into  my  heart  distil. 


STATION  VII. 
Jesus  is  presented  in  the  Temple. 

O  Jesus,  born  of  Virgin  bright, 

Immortal  glory  be  to  Thee; 
Praise  to  the  Father  infinite, 

And  holy  Ghost  eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider  that  the  Virgin  Mary,  forty  days  after  the 
birth  of  the  Infant  Jesus,  carries  him  in  her  arms  to  the 
Temple,  and,  offering  him  to  God  for  us,  consents  that  by 
his  Passion  and  Death  he  should  become  our  Redeemer. 

Affections. 

O  most  loving  Infant,  for  this  one  end  didst  Thou 
deliver  Thyself  up  to  death,  to  bestow  on  me  eternal  life. 
I  give  Thee  thanks,  and  pray  Thee,  by  this  offering  of 
Thyself,  to  make  me  constantly  ready  to  mortify  and 
die  to  myself  for  the  love  of  Thee. 

O  my  sweetest  Love,  I  am  sorry  that  I  have  offended 
Thee.  I  desire  to  be  always  faithful  in  Thy  service  : 
enkindle  in  me  Thy  love  ;  make  me  chaste  and  holy. 

O  Mary,  grant  that  I  may  belong  entirely  to  thee  and 
to  thy  Son  Jesus, 

Hail  Mary,  etc.     Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 


The  Way  of  Bethlehem.  341 

V.  Blessed  is  the  womb  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  which 
bore  the  Son  of  the  eternal  Father. 

R.  And  blessed  are  the  breasts  which  gave  suck  to 
Christ  our  Lord. 

O  Jesus,  ever  sweetest  Lord, 

And  ever  loving  still; 
From  this  dear  crib  sweet  drops  of  love 

Into  my  heart  distil. 


STATION   VIII. 
Jesus  flees  into  Egypt. 

O  Jesus,  born  of  Virgin  bright, 

Immortal  glory  be  to  Thee  ; 
Praise  to  the  Father  infinite, 

And  Holy  Ghost  eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider  that  Herod,  fearing  that  Jesus  would  deprive 
him  of  his  kingdom,  plans  his  death;  and  therefore 
orders  all  the  children  of  Bethlehem  to  be  murdered. 
The  most  blessed  Virgin,  warned  by  an  angel,  takes  the 
Infant  Jesus  into  Egypt. 

Affections. 

O  dearest  Infant,  what  sufferings  didst  Thou  not  en 
dure  during  this  journey  of  a  whole  month  and  even 
longer,  and  that  too  in  the  depth  of  winter  !  How  often 
wert  Thou  drenched  with  rain  and  stiffened  with  the 
cold!  How  many  nights  didst  Thou  pass  in  the  open 


air 


I  thank  Thee  ;  and  beseech  Thee  by  Thy  flight  to  give 
me  strength  to  avoid  all  the  dangers  of  eternal  death. 

O  my  sweetest  Love,  I  am  sorry  that  I  have  offended 
Thee.  I  desire  to  be  always  faithful  in  Thy  service  : 
enkindle  in  me  Thy  love;  make  me  chaste  and  holy. 


342  The  Way  of  Bethlehem. 

O  Mary,  grant  that  I  may  belong  entirely  to  Thee  and 
to  thy  Son  Jesus. 

Hail  Mary,  etc.     Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

V.  Blessed  is  the  womb  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  which 
bore  the  Son  of  the  Eternal  Father. 

R.  And  blessed  are  the  breasts  which  gave  suck  to 
Christ  our  Lord. 

O  Jesus,  ever  sweetest  Lord, 

And  ever  loving  still  ; 
From  this  dear  crib  sweet  drops  of  love 

Into  my  heart  distil. 


STATION    IX. 
Jesus  with  His  Hands  freed  from  the  Swaddling-clothes. 

O  Jesus,  born  of  Virgin  bright, 

Immortal  glory  be  to  Thee  ; 
Praise  to  the  Father  infinite, 

And  Holy  Ghost  eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider  that  the  Infant  Jesus,  some  months  after  his 
birth,  is  still  swathed  by  the  blessed  Virgin,  though  his 
hands  are  freed  from  the  swaddling-clothes. 

Affections. 

Most  tender  Infant,  I  imagine  to  myself  that  first  mo 
ment  when  Thou  didst  join  Thy  little  hands,  and,  lifting 
up  Thy  divine  eyes  to  heaven,  didst  intercede  with  the 
Eternal  Father  in  my  behalf.  I  give  Thee  thanks;  and 
beseech  Thee  to  grant  by  the  merits  of  Thy  prayer  that 
my  prayers  may  be  always  pleasing  and  acceptable  in 
Thy  sight. 

O  my  sweetest  Love,  I  am  sorry  that  I  have  offended 
Thee.  I  desire  to  be  always  faithful  in  Thy  service  :  en 
kindle  in  me  Thy  love;  make  me  chaste  and  holy. 


The  Way  of  Bethlehem.  343 

O  Mary,  grant  that  I  may  belong  entirely  to  thee  and 
to  thy  Son  Jesus. 

Hail  Mary,  etc.     Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

V.  Blessed  is  the  womb  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  which 
bore  the  Son  of  the  Eternal  Father. 

R.  And  blessed  are  the  breasts  which  gave  suck  to 
Christ  our  Lord. 

O  Jesus,  ever  sweetest  Lord, 

And  ever  loving  still  ; 
From  this  dear  crib  sweet  drops  of  love 

Into  my  heart  distil. 


STATION   X. 
Jesus  begins  to  walk. 

O  Jesus,  born  of  Virgin  bright, 

Immortal  glory  be  to  Thee  ; 
Praise  to  the  Father  infinite, 

And  Holy  Ghost  eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider  that  the  Infant  Jesus,  now  a  little  older,  be 
gins  to  walk,  and  plans  out  in  his  mind  the  journeys  he 
would  make  in  the  surrounding  country  of  Judaea  to 
preach  by  his  most  holy  words  the  way  of  salvation;  and 
at  the  same  time  figures  to  himself  the  road  to  Calvary, 
which  he  would  tread  in  going  to  die  for  us. 

Affections. 

O  most  loving  Infant,  I  thank  Thee  ;  and  beseech  Thee 
by  Thy  first  steps,  grant  me  grace  always  to  walk  in  the 
way  which  Thou  hast  pointed  out  to  me. 

O  my  sweetest  Love,  I  am  sorry  that  I  have  offended 
Thee.  I  desire  to  be  always  faithful  in  Thy  service  :  en 
kindle  in  me  Thv  love  ;  make  me  chaste  and  holy. 


344  The  Way  of  Bethlehem. 

O  Mary,  grant  that  I  may  belong  entirely  to  thee  and 
to  thy  Son  Jesus. 

Hail  Mary,  etc.     Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

V.  Blessed  is  the  womb  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  which 
bore  the  Son  of  the  Eternal  Father. 

R.  And  blessed  are  the  breasts  which  gave  suck  to 
Christ  our  Lord. 

O  Jesus,  ever  sweetest  Lord, 

And  ever  loving  still  ; 
From  this  dear  crib  sweet  drops  of  love 

Into  my  heart  distil. 


STATION  XI. 
Jesus  sleeps. 

O  Jesus,  born  of  Virgin  bright, 

Immortal  glory  be  to  Thee  ; 
Praise  to  the  Father  infinite, 

And  Holy  Ghost  eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider  that  the  Infant  Jesus  lies  in  a  poor  cradle  in 
the  little  house  of  his  Mother  Mary,  and  takes  his  rest; 
and  oftentimes  the  bare  ground  serves  him  as  a  bed. 

Affections. 

O  most  amiable  Infant,  even  while  sleeping  Thy  heart 
watches,  and  Thou  wert  loving  me,  and  thinking  upon 
me;  and  Thy  heart  was  consoled  with  the  good  which 
Thou  hadst  bestowed,  and  would  bestow,  upon  me.  I 
thank  Thee  ;  and  pray  Thee,  by  Thy  loving  slumbers,  to 
give  me  grace  to  live  forever  in  loving  Thee,  who  art  the 
most  loving  Good. 

O  my  sweetest  Love,  I  am  sorry  that  I  have  offended 
Thee.  I  desire  to  be  always  faithful  in  Thy  service  :  en 
kindle  in  me  Thy  love  ;  make  me  chaste  and  holy. 


The  Way  of  Bethlehem.  345 

O  Mary,  grant  that  I  may  belong  entirely  to  thee  and 
to  thy  Son  Jesus. 

Hail  Mary,  etc.     Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

V.  Blessed  is  the  womb  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  which 
bore  the  Son  of  the  Eternal  Father. 

R.  And  blessed  are  the  breasts  which  gave  suck  to 
Christ  our  Lord. 

O  Jesus,  ever  sweetest  Lord, 

And  ever  loving  still  ; 
From  this  dear  crib  sweet  drops  of  love 

Into  my  heart  distil. 


STATION    XII. 
Jesus  in  the  Form  of  a  Fisher. 

O  Jesus,  born  of  Virgin  bright, 

Immortal  glory  be  to  Thee  ; 
Praise  to  the  Father  infinite, 

And  Holy  Ghost  eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider  to  yourself  the  Infant  Jesus  represented  in  the 
form  of  a  fisher,  holding  in  his  hands  a  rod,  to  which  is 
attached  the  hook  wherewith  he  will  catch  the  hearts 
of  men.  When  we  think  on  his  beauty,  and  on  the  love 
with  which  he  seeks  us,  and  on  all  that  he  has  done  to 
allure  us  to  his  love,  we  must  needs  consecrate  our  hearts 
to  his  service. 

Affections. 

O  Divine  Infant,  I  give  Thee  thanks  ;  and  pray  Thee 
by  the  zeal  which  Thou  hast  shown  in  endeavoring  to 
draw  my  heart  to  Thee,  give  me  the  grace  never  to  leave 
Thee  more,  and  grant  that,  having  continual  recourse  to 
Thee,  I  may  become  one  with  Thee,  and  never  separate 
myself  from  Thee  again. 


346  The  Way  of  Bethlehem. 

O  my  sweetest  Love,  I  am  sorry  that  I  have  offended 
Thee.  I  desire  to  be  faithful  in  Thy  service  :  enkindle 
in  me  Thy  love  ;  make  me  chaste  and  holy. 

O  Mary,  grant  that  I  may  belong  entirely  to  thee  and 
to  thy  Son  Jesus. 

Hail  Mary,  etc.     Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

V.  Blessed  is  the  womb  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  which 
bore  the  Son  of  the  Eternal  Father. 

^R.  And   blessed  are   the   breasts   which  gave  suck  to 
Christ  our  Lord. 

O  Jesus,  ever  sweetest  Lord, 

And  ever  loving  still  ; 
From  this  dear  crib  sweet  drops  of  love 

Into  my  heart  distil. 

Prayer. 

I  offer  and  present  unto  Thee,  O  most  sweet  Infant  Jesus,  the 
steps  which  I  have  made  to  venerate  the  mysteries  of  Thy  In 
fancy,  and  the  homage  which  I  have  paid  Thee. 

I  pray  Thee  graciously  to  accept  it,  and  to  reward  me  with 
the  virtues  of  childhood,— chastity,  humility,  and  simplicity. 

It  is  a  joy  and  consolation  to  me  when  I  behold  Thee  on  the 
altar,  surrounded  with  so  many  and  so  lovely  flowers.  I  ar 
dently  desire  and  wish  to  see  my  heart  in  like  manner  adorned 
with  the  flowers  of  all  holy  virtues,  that  Thou  mayest  find  Thy 
pleasure,  and  dwell  in  it ;  and  may  it  be  my  lot  to  live  in  this 
world  ever  united  to  Thee,  that,  one  with  Thee,  I  may  dwell  in 
Thy  presence  in  heaven  for  all  eternity.  Amen. 


Indulgences.  347 


JttimLgences  &ttacl)e&  ta  ttye  Qfcmises  of  pets   in 
IJonor  of  tlje  Jnfant  Jkstts. 

I. 

EVERY  YEAR. 
Novena  Preparatory  to  Christmas-day. 

AN    INDULGENCE   OF    THREE    HUNDRED    DAYS,  CVCry  day, 

to  all  those  who,  with  at  least  contrite  heart  and  devo 
tion,  prepare  themselves  for  this  solemnity  by  a  novena 
(from  the  i6th  to  the  25th  of  December)  with  pious 
exercises,  prayers,  acts  of  virtue,  etc.  (As  the  good 
works  have  not  been  determined,  it  seems  to  be  sufficient 
for  gaining  this  indulgence  that  we  make  every  day  a 
spiritual  reading  or  a  meditation,  or  say  some  prayer, 
such  as  the  Chaplet,  page 

A  PLENARY  INDULGENCE  on  Christmas-day,  or  on  any 
day  in  its  octave,  to  those  who  have  made  this  novena, 
provided  that,  being  truly  penitent  after  confession  and 
Communion,  they  pray  devoutly  (for  instance,  by  saying 
five  Our  Fathers  and  five  Hail  Marys]  for  the  welfare  of 
the  Church,  and  for  the  intention  of  the  Holy  Father. 

These  indulgences  may  be  gained  once  more  within 
the  year  by  making  the  novena  in  honor  of  the  Child 
Jesus,  as  directed  above. 

*  We  think  that  it  will  be  pleasing  to  St.  Alphonsus,  as  well  as  to 
his  pious  readers,  to  add  here,  as  an  appendix,  the  list  of  indulgences 
with  which  the  Sovereign  Pontiffs  have  enriched  the  devotion  to  the 
Infant  Jesus,  and  which  we  copy  from  the  Kaccolta.  All  these  indul 
gences  are  applicable  to  the  souls  in  purgatory. — ED. 


Indulge 


'ences. 


Christmas-day. 

INDULGENCE  OF  A  HUNDRED  YEARS  for  each  of  the  fol 
lowing  offices  which  the  faithful  recite  or  at  which  they 
are  present  in  any  church,  being  truly  contrite,  after  con 
fession  and  Communion,  namely  :  The  First  Vespers, 
Matins  and  Lauds,  the  Mass  (without  doubt  each  of  the 
three  Masses),  and  the  Second  Vespers. 

AN  INDULGENCE  OF  FORTY  YEARS,  on  the  same  condi 
tions,  for  each  of  the  following  Hours:  Prime,  Tierce, 
Sext,  None,  and  Complins. 

II. 

EVERY  MONTH. 
Novena  from  the  i6th  to  the  24th. 

AN  INDULGENCE  OF  ONE  YEAR  for  every  day  of  the 
novena  on  which,  with  a  contrite  heart,  we  make,  either 
in  public  or  private,  the  following  offering  : 

In  the  name  of  the  Father,  and  of  the  Son,  and  of  the  Holy 
Ghost.  Amen. 

I.  Offering.— Eternal  Father,  I  offer  to  Thy  honor  and 
glory,  and  for  my  own  salvation,  and  for  the  salvation  of 
the  whole  world,  the  mystery  of  the  birth  of  our  divine 
Saviour. 

Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

II.  Offering. — Eternal   Father,   I    offer  to   Thy  honor 
and  glory,  and  for  my  eternal  salvation,  the  sufferings  of 
the  most  holy  Virgin  and  of  St.  Joseph  in  that  long  and 
weary  journey  from    Nazareth    to   Bethlehem.     I   offer 
Thee  the  sorrows  of  their  hearts   when   they  found    no 
place  wherein  to  shelter  themselves,  when   the  Saviour 
of  the  world  was  to  be  born. 

Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

III.  Offering.— Eternal    Father,  I  offer    to  Thy  honor 
and  glory,  and  for  my  eternal  salvation,  the  sufferings  o< 


Indulgences.  349 

Jesus  in  the  stable  where  he  was  born,  and  the  cold  he 
suffered,  the  swaddling-clothes  which  bound  him,  the 
tears  that  he  shed,  and  his  tender  infant  cries. 

Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

IV.  Offering. — Eternal    Father,   I  offer  to  Thy   honor 
and  glory,  and  for  my  eternal  salvation,  the  pain  which 
the  holy  child  Jesus  felt  in  his  tender  body  when  he  sub 
mitted  to  circumcision.     I  offer  Thee  that  precious  blood 
which  then,  for  the  first  time,  he  shed  for  the  salvation 
of  the  whole  human  race. 

Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

V.  Offering. — Eternal  Father,  I  offer  to  Thy  honor  and 
glory,  and  for  my  eternal  salvation,  the  humility,  morti 
fication,   patience,   charity,  all  the  virtues   of   the   child 
Jesus  ;  and  I   thank  Thee,  and  I  love  Thee,  and  I  bless 
Thee  without  end,  for  the  ineffable  mystery  of  the  In- 
carnation  of  the  divine  'TTord. 

Glory  be  to  the  Father,  etc. 

Verbum  caro  factum  cst.  The  Word  was  made  flesh. 

Et  habitavit  in  nobis.  And  dwelt  amongst  us. 

Or  emus.  Let  us  pray. 

Dens,  ciijus  Unigenitus  in  sub-  O  God,  whose  only-begotten 

stantia  nostrce  carnis  apparuit:  Son  was  made  manifest  to  us 

prcrsta,    qucesumiis,  ut  per  eum,  in  the  substance  of  our  flesh  ! 

quern  similem  nobis  forts   agno-  g™nt,    we  beseech    Thee,  that 

vimus,  intus  reformari  merea-  through    him,    whom    we    ao 

mur.     Qui  tecum  vivit  et  reg-  knowledge  to  be  like  unto  our- 

nat      in     scecula       sceculorum.  selves,  our  souls    may   be    in- 

Amen.  wardly  renewed.      Who  liveth 

and  reigneth  with  Thee  forever 
and  ever.     Amen. 

The  25th  of  the  Month. 

A  PLENARY   INDULGENCE    for  those   who,  being  truly 
contrite,  after  confession  and  Communion,  are  present  in 


35°  Indulgences. 

some  church  or  public  oratory  at  the  pious  exercise 
that  is  performed  in  honor  of  the  Infant  Jesus,  recite  the 
following  prayer,  to  venerate  the  twelve  mysteries  of  the 
holy  infancy,  and  pray  to  the  intention  of  his  Holiness. 

V.  Deus,  in  adjutorium  meum       V.  Incline    unto    my  aid,    O 
intende.  God. 

R.  Domine,  ad  adjuvandum       R.  O  Lord,  make  haste    to 
me  festina.  help  me. 

V.  Gloria   Patri  et   Filio  et       V.  Glory  be  to  the  Father,  and 
Spiritui  Sancto.  to  the  Son,  and   to  the  Holy 

R.  Sicut  erat  in  principio,  et   Ghost. 

nunc,   et    semper,  et  in   s&cula       R-  As  it  was  in  the  begin- 
sceculorum.     Amen.  ning,  is  now,  and  ever  shall  be- 

worH  without  end.     Amen. 
Pater  roster.  Our  Father. 

IST  MYSTERY.    THE  INCARNATION. 

Jesu    Infans    dulcissime!    e       Jesus,    sweetest    child,  who' 
sinu   Pair  is    propter    nostram   coming  down  from  the  bosom 
salutcm  descendens,  de    Spiritu    of  the  Father  for  our  salvation, 
Sancto       conceptus,       Virginis    didst  not  disdain  the  womb  of 
uterum    non    horrens,  et,     Ver-    the  Virgin,  where,  conceived  by 
bum  caro  factum,  formam  ser-    the     Holy     Ghost,    Thou,    the 
vi  accipiens,  miserere  nostri.         Word  incarnate,  didst  take  up 
on  Thee  the  form  of  a  servant: 
have  mercy  on  us. 

R.  Miserere  nostri,  Jesu  In-       R.  Have  mercy  on  us,  child 
fans!  miserere  nostri.  Jesus,  have  mercy  on  us. 

Ave  Maria.  Hail  Mary. 

2.  VISITATION. 

Jesu  Infans  dulcissime!  per  Jesus,  sweetest  child,  who  in 

Virginem  Matrem    tuam  i>isi-  Thy    virgin     mother's    womb, 

tans  Elisabeth,  Joannem  Baptis-  didst  visit  St.    Elizabeth,  and 

tarn  pracursorem  tuum  Spiritu  fill    Thy    precursor,  John    the 

Sancto  replcns,  et  adhuc  in  utero  Baptist,  with  the  Holy  Ghost, 


Indulgences.  351 

matris  suce  sanctificans,  miserere  sanctifying  him  from  his  moth- 
nostri.  er's  womb  :  have  mercy  on  us. 

R.  Miserere  nostri,  Jesu  In-       R.   Have  mercy  on  us,  child 
fans!  miserere  nostri.  Jesus,  have  mercy  on  us. 

Ave  Maria.  Hail  Mary. 

3.  THE  EXPECTATION. 

Jesu      Infans       dulcissime !  Jesus,  sweetest    child,   who, 

novemmensibus  imitero'clausus,  for  nine  months  hidden  in  Thy 

summis  votis     a    Maria    Vir-  mother's   womb,    and    awaited 

gine  et   a    Sancto    Joseph    ex-  with  eager  expectation  by  the 

pectatus,    et     Deo     Patri    pro  Virgin  Mother  Mary  and  by  St. 

salute  mundi  oblatus,  miserere  Joseph,  wast  by  them  offered  to 

nostri.  God  the  Father  for  the  salvation 

of  the  world  :  have  mercy  on  us. 

R.  Miserere  nostri,    Jesu  In-  R.   Have  mercy  on  us,  child 

fans  !  miserere  nostri.  Jesus,  have  mercy  on  us. 

Ave  Maria.  Hail  Mary. 

4.  THE  BIRTH. 

Jesu   Infans  dulcissime!   in  Jesus,  sweetest  child,  born  in 

Bethlehem   ex    Virgine   Maria  Bethlehem  of  the  Virgin  Mary, 

natus,  pannis  involutes,  in  prce-  wrapped  in  swaddling-clothes, 

sepio  redinatus,  ab  Angelis  an-  laid  in    the    manger,   heralded 

nuntiatus,et  a  pastoribus  visi-  by  angels,  visited  by  shepherds  : 

tatus,  miserere  nostri.  have  mercy  on  us. 

R.  Miserere  nostri,   Jesu  In-  R.   Have  mercy  on  us,  child 

fans  !  miserere  nostri.  Jesus,  have  mercy  on  us. 

Ave  Maria.  Hail  Mary. 

Jesu,  tibi  sit  gloria,  O  Jesus,  born  of  Virgin  bright, 

Qui  natus  es  de  Virgine,  Infinite  glory  be  to  Thee  ; 

Cum  Patre  et  alnw  Spiritu,  Praise  to  the  Father  infinite, 

In  sempiterna  scecula  !  And  Holy  Ghost  eternally. 

Amen.  Amen. 

Christits prope  est  nobis.  V.  Christ  is  at  hand. 

Venite,  adoremus.  R-  Come,  let  us  adore  him. 

Pater  noster.  Our  Father, 


3  5  2  Indu  Igences. 

5.  THE  CIRCUMCISION. 

Jesu  Infans  dulcissime !  in  Jesus,  sweetest  child,  wound- 
circumcisione  post  dies  octo  ed  in  the  circumcision  on  the 
vulneratus,  glorioso  Jesu  no-  eighth  day,  called  by  the  glo- 
mine  vocatus,  et  in  nomine  rious  name  of  Jesus,  and,  by 
simitl  et  sanguine  Salvatoris  Thy  name  and  by  Thy  blood, 
officio  prcesignatus,  miserere  foreshown  as  the  Saviour  of 
1lostri-  the  world  :  have  mercy  on  us. 

R.  Miserere  nostri,  Jesu  In-       R.  Have  mercy  on  us,  child 
fans!  miserere  nostri.  Jesus,  have  mercy  on  us. 

Ave  Maria.  Hail  Mary. 


6.  THE  ADORATION  OF  THE  MAGI. 

Jesu  Infans  dulcissime  I  stel-  Jesus,   sweetest   child,   made 

la  duce  tribus  Magis  demonstra-  known  to  three  Magi  by  a  star, 

/us,  in  sinu  Matris  adoratus,  et  adored  on  Mary's  bosom,  hon- 

mysticis  muneribus,  auro,  thure,  ored  with  the  mystical  gifts  of 

et    myrrha,    donatus,    miserere  gold,  frankincense,  and  myrrh: 

nostri.  have  mercy  on  us. 

R.  Miserere  nostri,  Jesu  In-  R.  Have  mercy  on  us,  child 

fans!  miserere  nostri.  Jesus,  have  mercy  on  us. 

Ave  Maria.  Hail  Mary. 


7.  THE  PRESENTATION. 

Jesu  Infans  dulcissime!  in  Jesus,  sweetest  child,  present- 
Templo  a  Matre  Virgine  prce-  ed  in  the  temple  by  Thy  Vir- 
sentatus,  inter  brachia  a  Simeone  gin  Mother;  Jesus,  whom 
amplexatus,  et  ab  Anna  pro-  Simeon  took  into  his  arms  and 
phetissa  Israeli  revelatus,  mi-  embraced,  and  Anna  the  proph- 
serere nostri.  etess  made  known  to  Israel: 

have  mercy  on  us. 

R.  Miserere  nostri,  Jesu  In-       R.  Have  mercy  on  us,  child 
fans!  miserere  nostri.  Jesus,  have  mercy  on  us, 

Ave  Maria.  Hail  Mary, 


Indulgences.  353 

8.  THE  FLIGHT  INTO  EGYPT. 

Jesu  Infans    dulcissime!  ab  Jesus,  sweetest  child,  whom 

iniquo  Her  ode  ad  mortem  qua-  Herod   sought   to   slay,  whom 

situs,     a     Sancto      Joseph     in  St.  Joseph    carried  with  Mary 

jEgyptum  cum  matre  deporta-  into  Egypt,  who  was  saved  by 

tus,  a  crudeli  cade  sublatus,  et  flight  from  a  cruel  death,  and 

a    prcEconiis      martyr um     In-  glorified  by  the  praises  of  the 

nocentium glorificatus,  miserere  holy  Innocents:  have  mercy  on 

nostri.  us- 

R.  Miserere  nostri,  Jesu  In-  R.   Have  mercy  on  us,  child 

fans!  miserere  nostri.  Jesus,  have  mercy  on  us. 

Ave  Maria.  Hail  Mary. 

Jesu,  tibi  sit  gloria,  O  Jesus,  born  of  Virgin  bright, 

Qut  natus  es  de  Virgine,  Infinite  glory  be  to  Thee  ; 

Cum  Patre  et  almo    Spiritu,  Praise  to  the  Father  infinite, 

In  sempiterna  sacula  !  And  Holy  Ghost  eternally. 

Amen.  Amen. 

Christus  prope  est  nobis.  V.  Christ  is  at  hand. 

Venite,  adoremus.  R.  Come,  let  us  adore  him. 

Pater  noster.  Our  Father. 

9.  THE  SOJOURN  IN  EGYPT. 

Jesu   Infans   dulcissime!   in  Jesus,    sweetest    child,  who, 

jEgypto  cum  Maria  sanctissima  with  Mary  most  holy  and  the 

ei patriarcha     Sancto     Joseph  patriarch  St.  Joseph,  didst  dwell 

usque  ad  obitum  Herodis  com-  in    Egypt   until    the    death    of 

moratus,  miserere  nostri.  Herod  :  have  mercy  on  us. 

R.  Miserere  nostri,  Jesu  In-  R.  Have  mercy  on  us,  child 

fans!  miserere  nostri.  Jesus,  have  mercy  on  us. 

Ave  Maria.  Hail  Mary. 


10.  THE  RETURN  FROM  EGYPT. 

Jesu    Infans  dulcissime!  ex       Jesus,    sweetest  child,    who 

A^gypto  cum  parentibus  in  ter-   didst  return  with  Thy  parents 

ram  Israel  reversus,  multos  la-    from    Egypt   into  the  land   of 

bores  in  itinere  perpessus,  et  in    Israel,  who  didst  suffer  many 

23 


354  Indulgences. 

civitatem    Nazareth    ingressus,    toils  by  the  way,  and  enter  the 
miserere  nostri.  city  of  Nazareth  :  have  mercy 

on  us. 

R.  Miserere  nostri,  Jesu  In-       R.  Have  mercy  on  us,  child 
fans  !  miserere  nostri.  Jesus,  have  mercy  on  us. 

Ave  Maria.  Hail  Mary. 

ii.  THE  LIFE  OF  JESUS  AT  NAZARETH. 

Jesu    Infans  dukissime !  in  Jesus,     sweetest     child,   who 

sancta  Nazarena  domo  subditus  didst  live    most    holily   in  the 

parentibus  sanctissime  conimo-  blessed  house  of  Nazareth,  sub- 

ratus,  paupertate   et   laboribus  ject  to    Thy  parents,  spending 

fatigatus,  in  sapientice,  atatis,  et  Thy  life  in  poverty  and  toil,  and 

gratice,    profectu     confortatus,  growing  in  wisdom,  in  age,  and 

miserere  nostri.  in  grace  :  have  mercy  on  us. 

R.  Miserere  nostri,  Jesu  In-  R.  Have  mercy  on  us,  child 

fans!  miserere  nostri.  Jesus,  have  mercy  on  us. 

Ave  Maria.  Hail  Mary. 

12.   JESUS    IN   THE   MIDST    OF   THE   DOCTORS. 

Jesu   Infans  dulcissime  !   in  Jesus,  sweetest  child,  brought 

Jerusalem  duodennis  ductus,  a  to  Jerusalem  when  twelve  years 

parentibus  cum  dolor e  qucesitus,  old,  sought  by  Thy  parents  with 

et  post  triduum  cum  g audio  in-  much  sorrow,  and,  after  three 

ter  Doctores  inventus,  miserere  days,  found,  to  their  great  joy, 

nostri.  among  the  doctors  :  have  mercy 

on  us. 

R.  Miserere  nostri,  Jesu  In-  R.  Have  mercy  on  us,  child 

fans!  miserere  nostri.  Jesus,  have  mercy  on  us. 

Ave  Maria.  Hail  Mary. 

Jesu,  tibi  sit  gloria,  O  Jesus,  born  of  Virgin  bright, 

Qui  natus  es  de  Virgine,  Infinite  glory  be  to  Thee  ; 

Cum  Patre  et  almo  Spiritu,  Praise  to  the  Father  infinite, 

In  sempiterna  scecula.  And  Holy  Ghost  eternally. 

Amen.  Amen. 

Christus prope  est  nodi's.  V.  Christ  is  at  hand. 

Venite,  adoremus.  R.  Come,  let  us  adore  him. 

Pater  noster.  Our  Father. 


Indulgences.  355 

VERSICLE  FOR  THE  FEAST  AND  OCTAVE  OF  CHRISTMAS. 

V.  Verbum  caro  factum  est.  V.  The  Word  was  made 
Alleluia.  flesh.  Alleluia. 

R.  Et  habitavit  in  nobis.  Al-  R.  And  dwelt  amongst  us. 
leluia.  Alleluia. 

This  versicle  is  also  recited  throughout  the  year,  but  the  Al 
leluia  is  omitted. 

FOR  THE  FEAST  OF  EPIPHANY  AND  ITS  OCTAVE  WE  SAY  : 

V.  Christus   manifestavit  se  V.  Christ  manifested  himself 

nobis.     Alleluia.  to  us.     Alleluia. 

R.    Venite,    adoremus.     Alle-  R.  Come,   let  us  adore  him. 

luia.  Alleluia. 

Or  emus.  Let  its  pray. 

Omnipotent  sempiterne  Deus,  Almighty     and     everlasting 

Domine  cali  et  terra;,  qui  te  re-  God,  Lord  of  heaven  and  earth, 

velas  parvulis  !    concede,    qua;-  who  dost  reveal  Thyself  to  lit- 

sumus,  ut  nos  sacrosancta  Filii  tie  ones ;  grant  us,  we  beseech 

tuilnfantis  Jesu  mysteria  digno  Thee,  to  honor  meekly  the  holy 

honor e  recolentes,  ac  digna  irni-  mysteries  of  Thy  Son,  the  child 

tatione    sectantes,    ad   Regnum  Jesus,  and  to   follow  him  hum- 

cczlorum    promissum    parvulis  bly  in  our  lives,  so  that  we  may 

pervenire  valeamus.     Per  cum-  come  to  the    eternal   kingdom 

dem   Christum    Dominum  nos-  promised  by  Thee  to  little  ones. 

trum.     Amen.  Through  the  same  Jesus  Christ 

Amen. 

III. 
Every  Day. 

INDULGENCE  OF  THREE  HUNDRED  DAYS,  once  a  day,  if 
privately,  with  a  contrite  heart,  we  recite  the  aforesaid 
exercise  in  honor  of  the  twelve  mysteries  of  the  Holy 
Infancy  of  Jesus. 

A  PLENARY  INDULGENCE  once  a  month  to  all  the  faith 
ful  who  every  day,  at  the  sound  of  the  bell  in  the  morn 
ing,  or  at  noon,  or  in  the  evening  at  sunset,  shall  devoutly 
say  the  Angelas  Domini  with  the  Hail  Mary  three  times, 


356  Indulgences. 

on  any  day  when, being  truly  penitent,  after  confession 
and  Communion,  they  shall  pray  to  the  intention  of  the 
Church.  This  prayer  is  said  kneeling  during  the  week 
and  standing  on  Saturday  evenings  and  Sundays.  During 
the  Paschal  time  this  prayer  is  replaced  by  the  Regina 
C(K/i  with  the  proper  versicle  and  prayer,  and  is  recited 
every  day  standing;  but  if  the  faithful  do  not  know  it  by 
heart  they  may  say  the  Angelus  standing. 

AN  INDULGENCE  OF  A  HUNDRED  DAYS  each  time  that  the 
faithful,  being  truly  contrite,  recite  the  above-mentioned 
prayer  in  the  manner  indicated. 

In  regard  to  the  recitation  of  the  Angelus,  we  here 
subjoin  the  translation  of  a  late  decree  published  by 
Pope  Leo  XIII.: 

To  gain  the  indulgences  which  Benedict  XIII.  granted 
the  faithful  who  recite  the  Angelus  Domini,  with  the  three 
Hail  Marys,  and  which  were  extended  by  Benedict  XIV. 
to  all  who,  during  the  Paschal  season,  say  the  Regina  Coeli, 
with  the  versicles  and  proper  prayer,  it  was  necessary  to 
recite  the  Hail  Marys,  versicles,  and  prayer  at  the  sound 
of  the  bell.  It  was  further  necessary  to  recite  the  Ange 
lus  and  the  Hail  Marys  on  bended  knees,  except  on 
Saturday  evenings  and  Sundays,  when  they  were  said 
standing,  and  the  Paschal  season,  when  the  Regina 
Cxli,  with  its  versicle  and  prayer,  was  likewise  said 
standing.  Recently,  many  pious  men  implored  the 
Sacred  Congregation  of  Indulgences  to  mitigate  to 
some  extent  these  two  conditions.  For  the  Angelus 
bell  is  not  rung  in  all  places,  nor  rung  three  times  a 
day,  nor  at  the  same  hours;  and  if  rung  it  is  not  always 
heard;  and  even  if  heard,  the  faithful  may  be  prevented 
by  reasonable  cause  from  kneeling  down  just  at  that 
moment  to  say  the  prayer.  Besides,  there  are  any  num 
ber  of  the  faithful  who  know  neither  the  Angelus  nor 
the  Regina  Coeli  by  heart,  and  cannot  even  read  it  in 
print. 


Indulgences.  357 

Wherefore,  his  Holiness  Pope  Leo  XIII.,  in  order  not 
to  have  so  many  of  the  faithful  deprived  of  these  spirit 
ual  favors,  owing  to  the  non-fulfilment  of  the  conditions, 
and  in  order  to  stir  up  in  all  an  abiding  and  grateful  re 
membrance  of  the  mysteries  of  our  Lord's  incarnation 
and  resurrection,  in  an  audience  granted  the  under 
signed  secretary  of  the  Sacred  Congregation  of  Indul 
gences  on  the  i5th  of  March  last,  graciously  granted 
that  all  the  faithful  (a)  who  say  the  Angelus,  with  the 
three  Hail  Marys,  the  Pray  for  us,  O  Holy  Mother  of  God, 
and  the  prayer  Pour  forth,  we  beseech  Thee,  though  for 
reasonable  cause  they  do  not  say  them  on  bended  knees, 
nor  at  the  sound  of  the  bell  ;  or  (b)  who  recite  during 
Paschal  time  the  Regina  Cceli,  with  its  versicle  and 
prayer;  or  who  say  in  the  morning,  about  midday,  and 
evening,  five  Hail  Marys  in  a  becoming  manner  with 
attention  and  devotion  (in  case  they  do  not  know  the 
Angelas  or  the  Regina  Cceli  and  cannot  read  it),  may 
gain  the  indulgences  mentioned  above. 

Given  at  the  Secretariate  of  the  same  Congregation, 
Rome,  April  3,  1884. 

A.  Cardinal  OREGLIA,  a  S.  STEPHANO,  Prefect. 

F.  BELLA  VOLPE,  Secretary. 

IV. 
At  all  Times. 

AN  INDULGENCE  OF  FIFTY  DAYS  each  time  for  saying 
to  one  another  when  meeting: 

Laudetur  Jesus  Christus.  Praise  be  to  Jesus  Christ. 

In  scccula.     Amen.  Forever.     Amen. 

AN  INDULGENCE  OF  TWENTY-FIVE  DAYS  granted  every 
time  to  all  those  who  devoutly  invoke  the  most  holy 
names  of  Jesus  and  Mary. 

A  PLENARY  INDULGENCE,  at  the  hour  of  death  granted 
to  all  those  who  during  life  have  had  the  pious  practice 


358  Indulgences. 

of  saluting  one  another  and  answering  as  above  directed, 
or  of  frequently  invoking  the  above-mentioned  most 
holy  names,  provided  they  invoke  them  then,  at  least 
with  the  heart,  if  they  are  unable  to  do  so  with  their 
lips. 

The  same  indulgences  are  granted  to  preachers,  and 
to  all  those  who  exhort  the  faithful  to  salute  one  another 
in  the  manner  prescribed,  and  to  invoke  frequently  the 
most  holy  names  of  Jesus  and  Mary. 

AN  INDULGENCE  OF  ONE  HUNDRED  DAYS  every  time  the 
faithful  say  this  pious  ejaculation: 

My  Jesus,  mercy  ! 

AN  INDULGENCE  OF  A  HUNDRED  DAYS  granted  every 
time  to  all  who  with  at  least  contrite  heart  and  devotion 
recite  these  three  ejaculations: 

Jesus,  Mary,  and  Joseph,  I  give  you  my  heart  and  my 
soul. 

Jesus,  Mary,  and  Joseph,  assist  me  in  my  last  agony. 

Jesus,  Mary,  and  Joseph,  may  I  breathe  forth  my  sou 
in  peace  with  you. 

AN  INDULGENCE  OF  FIFTY  DAYS  granted  every  time  to 
those  who  recite  the  following  ejaculation: 

Dulctssime  Jesu,  ne  sis  mihi  My  sweetest  Jesus,  be  not  my 
Jude.r.  sed  Salvator.  judge,  but  my  Saviour. 

A  PLENARY  INDULGENCE  is  granted  once  a  year,  on 
the  feast  of  St.  Jerome  Emiliani  (July  20),  beginning 
from  the  first  vespers  and  during  the  whole  octave,  on 
the  day  when,  being  truly  penitent,  after  confession  and 
Communion,  they  visit  any  church  or  public  oratory 
and  pray  there  for  some  time,  to  the  intention  of  his 
Holiness. 


Darts  of  Fire.  359 


of 


OR  PROOFS    THAT  JESUS   CHRIST  HAS   GIVEN  US  OP 
HIS  LOVE  IN  THE   WORK  OF  REDEMPTION* 

To  any  one  who  considers  the  immense  love  which 
Jesus  Christ  has  shown  us  in  his  life,  aird  especially  in 
his  death,  it  is  impossible  not  to  be  stirred  up  and  ex 
cited  to  love  a  God  who  is  so  enamoured  of  our  souls. 
St.  Bonaventure  calls  the  wounds  of  our  Redeemer 
wounds  which  pierce  the  hardest  hearts,  and  inflame 
divine  love  in  the  coldest  souls.1 

Therefore,  in  this  short  examination  of  the  love  of 
Jesus  Christ,  let  us  consider,  according  to  the  testimony 
of  the  divine  Scriptures,  how  much  our  loving  Redeemer 
has  done  to  make  us  understand  the  love  that  lie  bears 
us,  and  to  oblige  us  to  love  him. 

1  "  Vulnera  corda  saxea  vulnerantia  et  mentes  congelatas  inflam- 
mantia."  —  Stim.  div.  am.  p.  I,  c.  i. 

*  Saint  Alphonsus  set  a  high  value  on  this  little  treatise.  He 
recommends  it  in  several  places  of  his  works,  and  we  read  in  one  of 
his  spiritual  letters  (December  18,  1767)  that  he  himself  used  it  nearly 
every  day.  In  it  is  to  be  found  the  expression  of  those  sentiments 
with  which  the  saintly  author  mostly  loved  to  nourish  himself,  and  by 
which  he  sanctified  his  soul.  In  this  treatise  are  chiefly  repeated, 
under  every  form,  the  most  fervent  acts  of  contrition  and  of  love. 
"They  are  irresistible  darts  that  pierce  the  hardest  hearts,  and  in 
flame  divine  love  in  the  coldest  souls."  These  pious  reflections  may 
be  especially  used  when  we  are  in  the  presence  of  the  Blessed  Sacra 
ment,  in  our  Visits,  before  and  after  Holy  Communion,  during  Holy 
Mass  and  other  divine  services,  or  when  we  meditate  on  the  Passion 
of  our  Lord.  This  treatise,  entitled  Darts  of  Fire,  was  published  by 
the  holy  author  in  1767.  —  ED. 


360  Darts  of  Fire. 


Dilexit  nos,  et  tradidit  semctipsum  pro  nobis. 
"  He  hath  loved  us,  and  hath  delivered  Himself  for  us." — Ephes.  v.  2. 

God  had  conferred  so  many  blessings  on  men,  thereby 
to  draw  them  to  love  him;  but  these  ungrateful  men  not 
only  did  not  love  him,  but  they  would  not  even  acknow 
ledge  him  as  their  Lord.  Scarcely  in  one  corner  of  the 
earth,  in  Judea,  was  he  recognized  as  God  by  his  chosen 
people;  and  by  them  he  was  more  feared  than  loved.  He, 
however,  who- wished  to  be  more  loved  than  feared  by 
us,  became  man  like  us,  chose  a  poor,  suffering,  and  ob 
scure  life,  and  a  painful  and  ignominious  death;  and 
why  ?  to  draw  our  hearts  to  himself.  If  Jesus  Christ 
had  not  redeemed  us,  he  would  not  have  been  less  great 
or  less  happy  than  he  has  always  been;  but  he  deter 
mined  to  procure  our  salvation  at  the  cost  of  many 
labors  and  sufferings,  as  if  his  happiness  depended  on 
ours.  He  might  have  redeemed  us  without  suffering; 
but  no, — he  willed  to  free  us  from  eternal  death  by  his 
own  death  ;  and  though  he  was  able  to  save  us  in  a 
thousand  ways,  he  chose  the  most  humiliating  and  pain 
ful  way  of  dying  on  the  cross  of  pure  suffering,  to  pur 
chase  the  love  of  us,  ungrateful  worms  of  the  earth. 
And  what  indeed  was  the  cause  of  his  miserable  birth 
and  his  most  sorrowful  death,  if  not  the  love  he  had  for 
us? 

Ah,  my  Jesus,  may  that  love  which  made  Thee  die  for 
me  on  Calvary  destroy  in  me  all  earthly  affections,  and 
consume  me  in  the  fire  which  Thou  art  come  to  kindle 
on  the  earth.  I  curse  a  thousand  times  those  shame 
ful  passions  which  cost  Thee  so  much  pain.  I  repent, 
my  dear  Redeemer,  with  all  my  heart  for  all  the  offences 
I  have  committed  against  Thee.  For  the  future  I  will 
rather  die  than  offend  Thee;  and  I  wish  to  do  all  that  I 
can  to  please  Thee.  Thou  hast  spared  nothing  for  my 


Darts  of  Fire.  361 

love;  neither  will  I  spare  anything  for  Thy  love.  Thou 
hast  loved  me  without  reserve;  I  also  without  reserve 
will  love  Thee.  I  love  Thee,  my  only  good,  my  love,  my 
all. 

II. 

Sic  Deus  dilexit  mundum,  ut  Filium  suum  unigenitum  daret. 
"  God  so  loved  the  world,  as  to  give  His  only-begotten  Son." — John,  iii.  16. 

Oh,  how  much  does  that  little  word  so  mean  !  It 
means  that  we  shall  never  be  able  to  comprehend  the  ex 
tent  of  such  a  love  as  this  which  made  a  God  send  his 
Son  to  die,  that  lost  man  might  be  saved.  And  who 
would  ever  have  been  able  to  bestow  on  us  this  gift  of 
infinite  value  but  a  God  of  infinite  love  ? 

I  thank  thee,  O  Eternal  Father  !  for  having  given  me 
Thy  Son  to  be  my  Redeemer;  and  I  thank  Thee,  O 
great  Son  of  God,  for  having  redeemed  me  with  so  much 
suffering  and  love.  What  would  have  become  of  me, 
after  the  many  sins  that  I  have  committed  against  Thee, 
if  Thou  hadst  not  died  for  me?  Ah,  that  I  had  died 
before  I  had  offended  Thee,  my  Saviour  !  Make  me  feel 
some  of  that  detestation  for  my  sins  which  Thou  hadst 
while  on  earth  and  pardon  me.  But  pardon  is  not  suffi 
cient  for  me,  Thou  dost  merit  my  love;  Thou  hast  loved 
me  even  to  death,  unto  death  will  I  also  love  Thee.  I 
love  Thee,  O  infinite  goodness,  with  all  my  soul;  I  love 
Thee  more  than  myself;  in  Thee  alone  will  I  place  all 
my  affections.  Do  thou  help  me;  let  me  no  longer  live 
ungrateful  to  Thee,  as  I  have  done  hitherto.  Tell  me 
what  Thou  wouldst  have  of  me,  for,  by  Thy  grace,  all, 
all  will  I  do.  Yes,  my  Jesus,  I  love  Thee,  my  treasure, 
my  life,  my  love,  my  all. 


362  Darts  of  Fire. 


in. 


Neque  per  sanguinem  hircorum  aut  vitulorum,  sed  per  proprium  sanguinem  in- 

troivit  semel  in  sancta,  aterna  redemptione  inventa. 

"  Neither  by  the  blood  of  goats  or  of  calves,  but  by  His  own  blood,  entered  once 
into  the  Holies,  having  obtained  eternal  redemption."—/^.  ix.  12. 

And  of  what  worth  would    the   blood  of  all   goats  or 
even   of  all    men   be,   if  they  were   sacrificed   to  obtain 
divine  grace  for  us?     It  is  only  the   blood  of  this  Man- 
God    which    would    merit    for    us    pardon    and    eternal 
salvation.     But    if   God   himself    had    not    devised    this 
way    to    redeem    us,    as    he    did    by    dying    to    save    us, 
who  ever   would    have   been   able   to  think   of   it?     His 
love  alone  designed  it  and  executed   it.     Therefore  holy 
Job    did   well    to   cry   out  to    this    God   who  loves  man 
so   much:    What  is  man,  O  Lord,  that  Thou   dost  so  exalt 
him?  why  is  Thy  heart  so  intent  upon  loving  him  ?  what  is 
man  that  Thou  shoiildst  magnify  him  ?  or  why  dost  Thou  set 
Thy  heart  upon  him?1     Ah,  my  Jesus,  one    heart   is   but 
little  with  which  to  love  Thee;  if  I  loved  Thee  even  with 
the  hearts  of  all   men,  it  would    be  too  little.     What  in 
gratitude,  then,  would  it  be  if  I  were  to  divide  my  heart 
between    Thee    and   creatures  !       No,   my    love,     Thou 
wouldst  have  it  all,  and  well  dost  Thou  deserve  it;  I  will 
give  it  all  to  Thee.     If  I  do  not  know  how  to  give  it  Thee 
as  I  ought,  take  it  Thyself,  and  grant  that  I  may  be  able 
to  say  to  Thee  with  truth,  God  of  my  heart?     Ah,  my  Re 
deemer,  by  the  merits  of  the  abject  and  afflicted  life  that 
Thou   hast  willed  to  live  for  me,  give  me  true  humility, 
which  will  make  me  love  contempt  and  an  obscure  life 
May  I  lovingly  embrace  all  infirmities,  affronts,  persecu 
tions  and  interior  sufferings,  and  all  the  crosses  which  mav 
come  to  me  from  Thy  hands.   Let  me  love  Thee,  and  then 

"  Quid  est  homo,  quia  magnificas  eum?   aut  quid  apponis  erga 
eum  cor  tuum?" — Job,  vii.  17. 
'J  "  Deus  cordis  mei." — Ps.  Ixxii.  26. 


Darts  of  Fire.  363 

dispose  of  me  as  Thou  wilt.  O  loving  heart  of  my  Jesus  ! 
make  me  love  Thee  by  discovering  to  me  the  immense 
good  that  Thou  art.  Make  me  all  Thine  before  I  die.  I 
love  Thee,  my  Jesus,  who  art  worthy  to  be  loved.  I  love 
Thee  with  all  my  heart,  I  love  Thee  with  all  my  soul. 

IV. 

Benignitas  et  humanitas  apparuit  Salvatoris  nostri  Dei. 
"  The  goodness  and  kindness  of  God  our  Saviour  appeared." — Tit.  iii.  4. 

God  has  loved  man  from  all  eternity  /  have  loved 
thee  with  an  everlasting  love?  "  But,"  says  St.  Bernard, 
"  before  the  Incarnation  of  the  Word  the  divine  Power 
appeared  in  creating  the  world,  and  the  divine  Wisdom 
in  governing  it  ;  but  when  the  Son  of  God  became  man, 
then  was  made  manifest  the  love  which  God  had  for 
men."  2  And,  in  fact,  after  seeing  Jesus  Christ  go  through 
so  afflicted  a  life  and  so  painful  a  death,  we  should  be 
offering  him  an  insult  if  we  doubted  the  great  love  which 
he  bears  us.  Yes,  he  does  surely  love  us;  and  because  he 
loves  us,  he  wishes  to  be  loved  by  us.  And  Christ  died 
for  a!/,  that  they  also  who  live  may  not  now  live  to  themselves, 
but  for  Him  who  died  for  them  and  rose  again.3 

All,  my  Saviour,  when  shall  I  begin  to  understand  the 
love  which  Thou  hast  had  for  me  ?  Hitherto,  instead 
of  loving  Thee,  I  have  repaid  Thee  with  offences  and 
contempt  of  Thy  graces,  but  since  Thou  art  infinite  in 
goodness  I  will  not  lose  confidence.  Thou  hast  promised 
to  pardon  him  who  repents;  for  Thy  mercy's  sake  fulfil 
Thy  promise  to  me.  I  have  dishonored  Thee  by  putting 
Thee  aside  to  follow  my  own  pleasures;  but  now  I  grieve 
for  it  from  the  bottom  of  my  soul,  and  there  is  no  sor- 

1  "In  charitate  perpetua  dilexi  te." — Jer.  xxxi.  3. 

2  In  Nat.  Domini,  s.  I. 

3  "  Pro  omnibus  mortuus  est  Christus,  ut  et  qui  vivunt,  jam  non 
sibi  vivant,  sed  ei  qui  pro  ipsis  mortuus  est  et  resurrexit. " — 2.  Cor. 
v.  15. 


364  Darts  of  Fire. 

row  that  afflicts  me  more  than  the  remembrance  of  hav 
ing  offended  Thee,  my  Sovereign  Good  ;  pardon  me 
and  unite  me  entirely  to  Thee  by  an  eternal  bond  of 
love,  that  I  may  not  leave  Thee  any  more,  and  that  I 
may  only  live  to  love  Thee  and  to  obey  Thee.  Yes,  my 
Jesus,  for  Thee  alone  will  I  live,  Thee  only  will  I  love. 
Once  I  left  Thee  for  creatures,  now  I  leave  all  to  give 
myself  wholly  to  Thee.  I  love  Thee,  O  God  of  my  soul, 
I  love  Thee  more  than  myself.  O  Mary,  Mother  of 
God,  obtain  for  me  the  grace  to  be  faithful  to  God  till 
death. 

V. 

In  hoc  apparuit  charit.is  Dei  in  nobis,  quoniam  Filium  suum  unigenitum  misit 
Deus  in  mutidum,  ut  vivamus  per  eum. 

"  By  this  hath  the  charity  of  God  appeared  toward  us,  because  God  hath  sent  His 
only-begotten  Son  into  the  world  that  we  might  live  by  Him."— ijohn,  iv.  9. 

All  men  were  dead  by  sin,  and  they  would  have  re 
mained  dead  if  the  eternal  Father  had  not  sent  his  Son 
to  restore  them  to  life  by  his  death.  But  how  ?  what  is 
this?  A  God  to  die  for  man!  A  God!  And  who  is  this 
man?  <%  Who  am  I  ?"  '  says  St.  Bonaventure.  "OLord, 
why  hast  Thou  loved  me  so  much  ?" 9  But  it  is  in  this 
that  the  infinite  love  of  God  shines  forth.  By  this  hath 
the  charity  of  God  appeared?  The  Holy  Church  exclaims 
on  Holy  Saturday,  "O  wonderful  condescension  of  Thy 
mercy  toward  us  !  O  inestimable  affection  of  charity  ! 
that  Thou  mightest  redeem  a  slave,  Thou  didst  deliver 
up  Thy  Son.'"  O  immense  compassion!  O  prodigy! 
O  excess  of  the  love  of  God  ?  to  deliver  a  servant  and  a 
sinner  from  the  death  that  he  deserves,  his  innocent  Son 
is  condemned  to  die. 

1  "  Quid  sum  ego  ?" 

"  Quare,  Domine,  cur  me  tarn  amasti  T—Stim.  div.  am.  p.  i,  c.  13. 
"In  hoc  apparuit  charitas  Dei."— i  John,  iv.  9. 
"O  mira  circa  nos  tuae  pietatis  dignatio!    O  inaestimabilis  dilectio 
charitatis  ;  ut  servum  redimeres,  Filium  tradidisti!" 


Darts  of  Fire. 

Thou,  then,  O  my  God,  hast  done  this  that  we  might 
live  by  Jesus  Christ:  that  we  might  live  by  Him}  Yes,  in 
deed,  it  is  but  meet  that  we  should  live  for  him,  who 
has  given  all  his  blood  and  his  life  for  us.  My  dear 
Redeemer,  in  the  presence  of  Thy  wounds  and  of  the 
cross  on  which  I  see  Thee  dead  for  me,  I  consecrate  to 
Thee  my  life  and  my  whole  will.  Ah,  make  me  all  Thine, 
for  from  this  day  forward  I  seek  and  desire  none  but 
Thee.  I  love  Thee,  infinite  Goodness;  I  love  Thee,  in 
finite  Love;  while  I  live  may  I  always  repeat,  My  God,  I 
love  Thee,  I  love  Thee;  let  my  last  words  in  death  be,  My 
God,  I  love  Thee,  I  love  Thee. 

VI. 

Per  viscera  misericordia  Dei  nostri,  in  quibus  visitavit  nos  Oriens  ex  alto. 

»•  Through  the  bowels  of  the  mercy  of  our  God,  in  which  the  Orient  from  on  high 

hath  visited  us." — Luke,  \.  78. 

Behold,  the  Son  of  God  comes  on  earth  to  redeem 
us,  and  he  comes  stimulated  alone  by  the  bowels  of  his 
mercy.  But,  O  God!  if  Thou  hast  compassion  on  lost 
man,  is  it  not  enough  that  Thou  shouldst  send  an  angel 
to  redeem  him  ?  No,  says  the  Eternal  Word,  I  will  come 
myself,  that  man  may  know  how  much  I  love  him. 
St.  Augustine  writes:  "  For  this  reason  chiefly  did  Jesus 
Christ  come,  that  man  should  know  how  much  God 
loves  him."2  But,  my  Jesus,  even  now  that  Thou  hast 
come,  how  many  men  are  there  who  truly  love  Thee  ? 
Wretch  that  I  am,  Thou  knowest  how  I  have  hitherto 
loved  Thee;  Thou  knowest  what  contempt  I  have  had 
for  Thy  love.  Oh  that  I  might  die  of  grief  for  it  !  I  re 
pent,  my  dear  Redeemer,  of  having  so  despised  Thee. 
Ah,  pardon  me,  and  at  the  same  time  give  me  grace  to 
love  Thee.  Let  me  no  longer  remain  unmindful  of  that 

1  "  Ut  vivamus  per  eum." — i  John,  iv.  9. 

2  "  Maxima  propterea  Christus  advenit,  ut  cognosceret  homo  quan 
turn  eum  diligat  Deus."— De  catech.  rud.  c.  4. 


366  Darts  of  Fire. 

great  affection  which  Thou  hast  borne  me.  I  love  Thee 
now,  but  I  love  Thee  but  little.  Thou  dost  merit  an 
infinite  love.  Grant  me  at  least  that  I  may  love  Thee 
with  all  my  strength.  Ah,  my  Saviour,  my  joy,  my  life, 
my  all,  whom  should  I  love  if  I  love  not  Thee,  the  infinite 
Good?  I  consecrate  all  my  wishes  to  Thy  will;  at  the 
sight  of  the  sufferings  Thou  hast  undergone  for  rne, 
I  offer  myself  to  suffer  as  much  as  it  shall  please  Thee. 
Lead  us  not  into  temptation,  but  deliver  its  from  evil.1  Deliver 
me  from  sin,  and  then  dispose  of  me  as  Thou  wilt. 
I  love  Thee,  infinite  Good,  and  I  am  content  to  receive 
any  punishment,  even  to  be  annihilated,  rather  than  to 
live  without  loving  Thee. 

VII. 

Et  Verbum  caro  factum  est. 
"  And  the  Word  was  made  flesh."— -John,  \.  14. 

God  sent  the  Archangel  Gabriel  to  ask  Mary's  consent 
that  he  should  become  her  Son;  Mary  gives  her  consent, 
and  behold  the  Word  is  made  man.  O  wonderful  prod 
igy !  at  which  the  heavens  and  all  nature  stand  in 
astonishment  !  The  Word  made  flesh  !  A  God  made 
man  !  What  if  we  were  to  see  a  king  become  a  worm, 
to  save  the  life  of  a  little  worm  of  earth  by  his  death  ? 

So,  then,  my  Jesus,  Thou  art  my  God,  and  not  being 
able  to  die  as  God,  Thou  hast  been  pleased  to  become 
man  capable  of  dying  in  order  to  give  Thy  life  for  me. 
My  sweet  Redeemer,  how  is  it  that,  at  the  sight  of  such 
mercy  and  love  Thou  hast  shown  towards  me,  I  do  not 
die  of  grief?  Thou  didst  come  down  from  heaven  to 
seek  me,  a  lost  sheep;  and  how  many  times  have  I  not 
driven  Thee  away,  preferring  my  miserable  pleasures  be 
fore  Thee  !  But  since  Thou  dost  wish  to  have  me,  I 
leave  all;  I  wish  to  be  Thine,  and  I  will  have  none  other 
1  "  Ne  nos  inducas  ir  rentationem,  sed  libera  nos  a  malo." 


Darts  of  Fire.  367 

but  Thee.  Thee  do  I  choose  for  the  only  object  of  my 
affections.  My  Beloved  to  me,  and  I  to  Him.1  Thou  dost 
think  of  me,  and  I  will  think  of  none  but  Thee.  Let  me 
always  love  Thee,  and  may  I  never  leave  off  loving  Thee. 
Provided  I  can  love  Thee,  I  am  content  to  be  deprived  of 
all  sensible  consolation,  and  even  to  suffer  all  torments. 
I  see  that  Thou  dost  indeed  wish  me  to  be  all  Thine,  and 
I  wish  to  belong  entirely  to  Thee.  I  know  that  every 
thing  in  the  world  is  a  falsehood,  a  deceit,  nothing  but 
smoke,  filth,  and  vanity.  Thou  alone  art  the  true  and 
only  good;  therefore  Thou  alone  art  sufficient  for  me. 
My  God,  I  wish  for  Thee  alone,  and  nothing  else  ;  God  hear 
me,  for  Thee  alone  do  I  wish,  and  nothing  else. 

VIII. 

Setnetipsum  exinanivit. 
"  He  emptied  Himself."— Phil.  ii.  7. 

Behold  theonly-begotton  Son  of  God,  omnipotent  and 
true  God,  equal  to  the  Father,  born  a  little  Infant  in  a 
stable.  He  emptied  Himself ,  taking  the  form  of  a  servant, 
being  made  to  the  likeness  of  men?  If  any  one  would  see  a 
God  annihilated,  let  him  enter  into  the  cave  of  Bethle 
hem,  and  he  will  find  him  as  a  little  Infant,  bound  in 
swaddling-clothes,  so  that  he  carn.ot  move,  weeping  and 
trembling  with  cold.  Ah,  holy  faith,  tell  me  whose  Son 
is  this  poor  child  ?  Faith  answers,  he  is  the  Son  of  God, 
and  he  is  true  God.  And  who  has  brought  him  to  so 
miserable  a  condition  ?  It  was  the  love  he  had  for  men. 
And  yet  there  are  men  to  be  found  who  do  not  love  this 
God  ! 

Thou,  then,  my  Jesus,  hast  spent  all  Thy  life  amidst 
sorrows  to  make  me  understand  the  love  Thou  dost  bear 
me,  and  I  have  spent  my  life  in  despising  and  displeasing 

1  "  Dilectus  meus  mihi,  et  ego  illi."—  Cant.  ii.  16. 

2  "  Semetipsum  exinanivit,  formam  servi  accipiens,  in  similitudinem 
hominum  factus." — Phil.  ii.  7. 


3^8  Darts  of  Fire. 

Thee  by  my  sins  !  Ah,  make  me  know  the  evil  I  have 
committed,  and  the  love  which  Thou  desirest  to  have. 
But  since  Thou  hast  borne  with  me  till  now,  permit  me 
not  to  give  Thee  any  more  cause  for  sorrow.  Inflame 
me  altogether  with  Thy  love,  and  remind  me  always  of 
all  Thou  hast  suffered  for  me,  that  from  this  day  forth  I 
may  forget  everything,  and  think  of  nothing  but  loving 
and  pleasing  Thee.  Thou  didst  come  on  earth  to  reign 
in  our  hearts;  take,  then,  from  my  heart  all  that  could 
prevent  Thee  from  possessing  it  entirely  !  Make  my  will 
to  be  wholy  conformed  to  Thy  will;  may  Thine  be  mine, 
and  may  it  be  the  rule  of  all  mv  actions  and  desires. 


IX. 

Parvulus  natus  est  nobis,  et  Filius  datus  est  vobis. 
"  For  a  child  is  born  to  us,  and  a  Son  is  given  to  us.1'— Isa.  ix.  6, 

Behold  the  end  for  which  the  Son  of  God  will  be  born 
an  Infant,  to  give  himself  to  us  from  his  childhood,  and 
thus  to  draw  to  himself  our  love.  Why  (writes  St. 
Francis  de  Sales)  does  Jesus  take  the  sweet  and  tender 
form  of  an  Infant,  if  it  be  not  to  stimulate  us  to  love  him 
and  to  confide  in  him  ?  St.  Peter  Chrysologus  had  said 
before,  "Thus  he  willed  to  be  born,  because  he  wished  to 
be  loved."  * 

Oh,  dear  child  Jesus,  my  Saviour  !  I  love  Thee,  in  Thee 
do  I  trust,  Thou  art  all  my  hope  cind  all  my  love.  What 
would  have  become  of  me  if  Thou  hadst  not  come  down 
from  heaven  to  save  me?  I  know  the  hell  which  would 
have  awaited  me  for  the  offences  I  have  offered  Thee. 
Blessed  be  Thy  mercy,  because  Thou  art  ever  ready  to 
pardon  me  if  I  repent  of  my  sins.  Yes,  I  repent  with  all 
my  heart,  my  Jesus,  of  having  despised  Thee.  Receive 
me  into  Thy  favor,  and  make  me  die  to  myself  to  live 
only  to  Thee,  my  only  good.  Destroy  in  me,  O  thou 

"Sic  nasci  voluit,  qui  voluit  amari. "  —  Serm.  158. 


Darts  of  Fire.  369 

consuming  fire,  everything  that  is  displeasing  in  Thine 
eyes,  and  draw  all  my  affections  to  Thee.  I  love  Thee, 
6  God  of  my  soul,  I  love  Thee,  my  treasure,  my  life,  my 
all.  I  love  Thee,  and  I  wish  to  die  saying,  my  God,  I 
love  Thee;  and  begin  then  to  love  Thee  with  a  perfect 

love  which  shall  have  no  end. 

\ 

X. 

Rorate,  «*//,  desuper,  et  nubes pluant  Justvm.-Emitte  Agnum,  Domine,domina- 

torcin  terra". — Salutare  tuuin  da  nobis. 

"  Drop  down  dew,  O  ye  heavens,  from  above,  and  let  the  clouds  rain  the  just."- 

"  Send  forth  the  Lamb,  the  Ruler  of  the  earth."—/™,  xlv.  8;  xvi.  i.— 

"Grant  us  Thy  salvation. "—-P.*.  Ixxxiv.  8. 

Thus  did  the  holy  Prophets  desire  for  so  many  years 
the  coming  of  the  Saviour.  The  same  prophet  Isaias 
said:  Oh,  that  Thou  wouldst  send  the  heavens,  and  wouldst 
come  down  :  the  mountains  would  melt  away  at  Thy  presence, 

.  the  waters  would  burn  with  fire.'  Lord,  he  said,  when 
men  shall  see  that  Thou  hast  come  on  earth  out  of  love 
for  them,  the  mountains  shall  be  made  smooth,  that  is, 
men  in  serving  Thee  will  conquer  all  the  difficulties  that 
at  first  appeared  to  them  insuperable  obstacles.  The 
waters  would  burn  with  fire,  and  the  coldest  hearts  will 
feel  themselves  burning  with  Thy  love,  at  the  sight  of 
Thee  made  man,  and  how  well  has  this  been  verified  in 
many  happy  souls !— in  St.  Teresa,  in  St.  Philip  Neri,  St. 
Francis  Xavier,  who  even  in  this  life  were  consumed  by 
this  holy  fire.  But  how  many  such  are  there?  Alas! 
but  too  few. 

Ah,  my  Jesus,  amongst  these  few  I  wish  also  to  be. 
How'  many  years  ought  I  not  already  be  burning  in 
hell,  separated  from  Thee,  hating  and  cursing  Thee  for 
ever.  But  no,  Thou  hast  borne  with  me  with  so  much 
patience,  that  Thou  mightest  see  me  burn,  not  with  that 
unhappy  flame,  but  with  the  blessed  fire  of  Thy  love; 

1  "Utinam  dirumperes  coelos  et  descenderes;  a  facie  tua  monies 
defluerent  .  .  .,  aquae  arderent  igni."— Isa.  Ixiv.  i,  2. 


37°  Darts  of  Fire. 

for  this  end  Thou  hast  given  me  so  many  illuminations, 
and  hast  so  often  wounded  my  heart  while  I  was  far 
from  Thee;  finally,  Thou  hast  done  so  much  that  Thou 
hast  forced  me  to  love  Thee  by  Thy  sweet  attractions. 
Behold,  I  am  now  Thine.  I  will  be  Thine  always  and 
altogether.  It  remains  for  Thee  to  make  me  faithful, 
and  this  I  confidently  hope  from  Thy  goodness.  O  my 
God  !  who  could  ever  have  the  heart  to  leave  Thee  again 
and  to  live  even  a  moment  without  Thy  love?  I  love 
Thee,  my  Jesus,  above  all  things;  but  this  is  little.  I 
love  Thee  more  than  myself,  but  this  is  little  also;  I  love 
Thee  with  all  my  heart,  and  this  also  is  little.  My  Jesus, 
hear  me,  give  me  more  love,  more  love,  more  love.  O 
Mary,  pray  to  God  for  me. 


XI. 

Despectum,  et  no-vissimum  virorum. 
"Despised,  and  the  most  abject  of  men."— Isa.  liii.  3. 

Behold  what  was  the  life  of  the  Son  of  God  made 
man,  the  most  abject  of  men.  He  was  treated  as  the 
vilest,  the  least  of  men.  To  what  extreme  of  meanness 
could  the  life  of  Christ  be  reduced  greater  than  that  of 
being  born  in  a  stable?  of  living  as  a  servant  in  an  un 
known  and  despised  shop  ?  struck,  treated  as  a  mock 
king,  having  his  face  spit  upon?  and,  finally,  of  dying 
condemned  as  a  malefactor  on  an  infamous  gibbet  ? 

St.  Bernard  exclaims,  "Oh,  lowest  and  highest!"1 
A  God,  Thou  art  the  Lord  of  all,  and  how  art  Thou  con 
tented  to  be  the  most  despised  of  all  ?  And  I,  my  Jesus, 
when  I  see  Thee  so  humiliated  for  me,  how  can  I  wish  to 
be  esteemed  and  honored  by  all  ?  A  sinner  to  be  proud! 
Ah,  my  despised  Redeemer,  may  Thy  example  inspire 
me  with  love  of  contempt  and  of  an  obscure  life;  from 
this  time  forward  I  hope,  with  Thy  help,  to  accept  from 
1  "O  novissimum  et  altissimum." — 3.  de  Passione. 


Darts  of  Fire.  371 

my  heart  all  opprobrium  that  I  may  have  to  suffer  for  the 
love  of  Thee,  who  hast  endured  so  much  for  the  love  of 
me.  Pardon  me  the  pride  of  my  past  life,  and  give  me 
love  in  its  place.  I  love  Thee,  my  despised  Jesus.  Go 
before  me  with  Thy  cross.  I  will  follow  Thee  with 
mine,  and  I  will  not  leave  Thee  till  I  die  crucified  for 
Thee,  as  Thou  didst  die  crucified  for  me.  My  Jesus,  my 
despised  Jesus,  I  embrace  Thee;  in  Thy  embrace  will  I 
live  and  die. 

XIL 

Virum  dolorum. 
"  A  man  of  sorrows." — Isa.  liii,  3. 

What  was  the  life  of  Jesus  Christ  ?  A  life  of  sorrows; 
a  life  of  internal  and  external  sorrows  from  the  begin 
ning  to  the  end.  But  what  most  afflicted  Jesus  Christ 
during  the  course  of  his  life  was  the  sight  of  the  sins 
and  the  ingratitude  with  which  men  repaid  the  pains  he 
had  suffered  with  so  much  love  for  us.  This  thought 
had  made  him  the  most  afflicted  amongst  all  men  that 
had  ever  lived  on  the  earth. 

So,  then,  my  Jesus,  I  also  added  to  the  affliction  Thou 
didst  suffer  during  the  whole  of  Thy  life  by  my  sins. 
And  why  do  I  not  also  say,  as  did  St.  Margaret  of  Cor- 
tona,  who,  when  exhorted  by  her  confessor  to  calm  her 
grief  and  not  to  weep  any  more  because  God  had  par 
doned  her,  redoubled  her  tears  and  answered,  "Ah,  my 
Father,  how  can  I  leave  off  weeping  when  I  know  that 
my  sins  afflicted  my  Jesus  through  the  whole  of  his 
life?"  Oil  that  I  could  die  of  grief,  my  Jesus,  whenever 
I  think  of  all  the  bitter  anguish  I  have  caused  Thee 
every  day  of  my  life  !  Alas,  how  many  nights  have  I 
slept  deprived  of  Thy  grace  !  How  many  times  hast 
Thou  pardoned  me,  and  I  have  again  turned  my  back 
upon  Thee  !  My  dear  Lord,  I  repent  above  all  things 
for  having  offended  Thee.  I  love  Thee  with  all  my 


372  Da  rts  of  Fire. 

heart;  I  love  Thee  with  all  my  soul.  "Ah,  my  sweet 
Jesus,  permit  me  not  to  be  separated  any  more  from 
Thee."  Let  me  die  rather  than  betray  Thee  afresh. 

0  Mary,  Mother  of  perseverance,  obtain  for  me  the  gift 
of  holy  perseverance. 

XIII. 

Cum  dilexisset  suos,  qui  erant  in  mundo,  in  finem  dilexit  eos. 

"  Having  loved  his  own  who  were  in  the  world,  He  loved  them  unto  the  end." — 
John,  xiii.  i. 

The  love  of  friends  increases  at  the  time  of  death, 
when  they  are  on  the  point  of  being  separated  from 
those  they  love;  and  it  is  then,  therefore,  that  they  try 
more  than  ever,  by  some  pledge  of  affection,  to  show 
the  love  they  bear  to  them.  Jesus  during  the  whole  of 
his  life  gave  us  marks  of  his  affection,  but  when  he  came 
near  the  hour  of  his  death  he  wished  to  give  us  a  special 
proof  of  his  love.  For  what  greater  proof  could  this 
loving  Lord  show  us  than  by  giving  his  blood  and  his 
life  for  each  of  us?  And  not  content  with  this,  he  left 
this  very  same  body,  sacrificed  for  us  upon  the  cross,  to 
be  our  food,  so  that  each  one  who  should  receive  it 
should  be  wholly  united  to  him,  and  thus  love  should 
mutually  increase. 

0  infinite    goodness  !     O   infinite    love  !     Ah,  my  en 
amoured  Jesus,  fill  my  heart   with  Thy  love,  so  that  I 
may  forget  the  world  and  myself,  to  think  of  nothing  but 
loving  and    pleasing   Thee.     I   consecrate  to   Thee  my 
body,  my  soul,  my  will,  my  liberty.     Up  to  this  time   I 
have  sought  to  gratify  myself  to  Thy  great  displeasure; 

1  am  exceedingly  sorry  for  it,  my  crucified  love;  hence 
forth  I  will  seek  nothing  but  Thee,  my  God  and  my  all." 
My  God,  Thou  art  my  all,  I  wish   for  Thee  alone  and 

1  "  Jesu  dulcissime!  ne  permittas  me  separari  a  te,  ne  permittas 
me  separari  a  te." 

2  "  Deus  meus  et  omnia." 


Darts  of  Fire.  373 

nothing  more.  Oh  that  I  could  spend  myself  all  for 
Thee,  who  hast  spent  Thyself  all  for  me  !  I  love  Thee, 
my  only  good,  my  only  love.  I  love  Thee,  and  abandon 
myself  entirely  to  Thy  holy  will.  Make  me  love  Thee, 
and  then  do  with  me  what  Thou  wilt. 


XIV. 

Tristis  est  anima  me  a  usque  ad  mortem. 
"  My  soul  is  sorrowful  even  unto  death." — Matt.  xxvi.  38. 

These  were  the  words  that  proceeded  from  the  sor 
rowful  heart  of  Jesus  Christ  in  the  garden  of  Geth- 
semani,  before  he  went  to  die.  Alas,  whence  came  this 
extreme  grief  of  his,  which  was  so  great  that  it  was 
enough  to  kill  him?  Perhaps  it  was  on  account  of  the 
torments  that  he  saw  he  should  have  to  suffer?  No;  for 
he  had  foreseen  these  torments  from  the  time  of  his  in 
carnation.  He  had  foreseen  them,  and  had  accepted  them 
of  his  own  free  will:  He  was  offered  because  it  was  His  own 
will.1  His  grief  came  from  seeing  the  sins  men  would 
commit  after  his  death.  It  was  then,  according  to  St. 
Bernardine  of  Sienna,  that  he  saw  clearly  each  particular 
sin  of  each  one  of  us.  He  had  regard  to  every  individual 
sin.2 

It  was  not,  then,  my  Jesus,  the  sight  of  the  scourges, 
of  the  thorns,  and  of  the  cross  which  so  afflicted  Thee 
in  the  garden  of  Gethsemani;  it  was  the  sight  of  my  sins, 
each  one  of  which  so  oppressed  Thy  heart  with  grief 
and  sadness  that  it  made  Thee  agonize  and  sweat  blood. 
This  is  the  recompense  I  have  made  Thee  for  the  love 
Thou  hast  shown  me  by  dying  for  me.  Ah,  let  me 
share  the  grief  Thou  didst  feel  in  the  garden  for  my 
sins,  so  that  the  remembrance  of  it  may  make  me  sad 


1  "Oblatus  est,  quia  ipse  voluit." — Isa.  liii.  7. 

"A 
s.  56,  a. 


"Ad    quamlibet    culpam    singularem    habuit    aspectum."—  T.  ii. 


374  Darts  of  Fire. 

for  all  my  life.  Ah,  my  sweet  Redeemer,  if  I  could  but 
console  Thee  as  much  now  by  my  grief  and  love  as  I 
then  afflicted  Thee  !  I  repent,  my  Love,  with  all  my 
heart  for  having  preferred  my  own  miserable  satisfac 
tion  to  Thee.  I  am  sorry,  and  I  love  The  above  all 
things.  Although  I  have  despised  Thee,  yet  I  hear  Thee 
ask  for  my  love.  Thou  wouldst  have  me  love  Thee 
with  all  my  heart:  Love  the  Lord  thy  God  with  all  thy 
heart,  and  with  all  thy  soul.1  Yes,  my  God,  I  love  Thee 
with  all  my  heart,  I  love  Thee  with  all  my  soul.  Do  Thou 
give  me  the  love  Thou  requirest  of  me.  If  I  have 
hitherto  sought  myself,  I  will  now  seek  none  but  Thee. 
And  seeing  that  Thou  hast  loved  me  more  than  others, 
more  than  others  will  I  love  Thee.  Draw  me  always 
more,  my  Jesus,  to  Thy  love  by  the  odor  of  Thy  ointments, 
which  are  the  loving  attractions  of  Thy  grace.  Finally, 
give  me  strength  to  correspond  to  so  much  love  which 
God  has  borne  to  an  ungrateful  worm  and  traitor.  Mary, 
Mother  of  mercy,  help  me  by  thy  prayers. 

XV. 

Comfrehenderunt  jfesitm,  et  ligaverunt  eum. 
"  They  took  Jesus  and  bound  him." — John,  xviii.  ia. 

A  God  taken  and  bound  !  What  could  the  angels 
have  said  at  seeing  their  king  with  his  hands  bound,  led 
between  soldiers  through  the  streets  of  Jerusalem  !  And 
what  ought  we  to  say  at  the  sight  of  our  God,  who  is 
content  for  our  sake  to  be  bound  as  a  thief,  to  be  pre 
sented  to  the  judge  who  is  to  condemn  him  to  death  ?  St. 
Bernard  laments,  saying,  "What  hast  Thou  to  do  with 
chains?"2  What  have  malefactors  and  chains  to  do  with 
Thee,  O  my  Jesus,  Thou  who  art  infinite  goodness  and 

1  "  Diliges  Dominum  Deum  tuum  ex  toto  corde  tuo,  et  in  tota  anima 
tua." — Matt.  xxii.  37. 

2  "Quid  tibi  et  vinculis?" — Lib.  de  Pass.  c.  4. 


Darts  of  Fire.  375 

majesty  ?  They  should  belong  to  us  sinners,  guilty  of  hell, 
and  not  to  Thee  who  art  innocent  and  the  Holy  of  holies. 
St.  Bernard  goes  on  to  say,  on  seeing  Jesus  guilty  of 
death,  "  What  hast  Thou  done,  my  innocent  Saviour,  that 
Thou  shouldst  be  thus  condemned  ?"  l  O  my  dear  Saviour, 
Thou  art  innocence  itself  ;  for  what  crime  hast  Thou 
been  thus  condemned  ?  Ah,  I  will  tell  Thee,  he  replies: 
the  crime  Thou  hast  committed  is  the  too  great  love 
Thou  hast  borne  to  men.  Thy  sin  is  love.2 

My  beloved  Jesus,  I  kiss  the  cords  that  bind  Thee, 
for  they  have  freed  me  from  those  eternal  chains  which 
I  have  deserved.  Alas  !  how  many  times  have  I  re 
nounced  Thy  friendship  rnd  made  myself  a  slave  of 
Satan,  dishonoring  Thy  infinite  majesty!  I  grieve  above 
all  things  for  having  so  grievously  insulted  Thee.  Ah, 
my  God,  bind  my  will  to  Thy  feet  with  the  sweet  cords 
of  Thy  holy  love,  that  it  may  wish  for  nothing  but 
what  is  pleasing  to  Thee.  May  I  take  Thy  will  for  the 
sole  guide  of  my  life.  As  Thou  hast  had  so  great  care 
for  my  good,  may  I  not  care  for  anything  but  to  love 
Thee.  I  love  Thee,  my  sovereign  Good;  I  love  Thee,  the 
only  object  of  my  affections.  I  know  that  Thou  alone 
hast  loved  me  truly,  and  Thee  alone  will  I  love.  I  re 
nounce  everything.  Thou  alone  art  sufficient  for  me. 

XVI. 

Ipse  autetn  vulneratus  est  propter  iniquitates  nostras,  attritus  est  propter  scelera 

nostra. 

"But  He   was  wounded   for  our   iniquities,    He  was  bruised   for    our  sins."— 

Isa.  liii.  5. 

One  single  blow  suffered  by  this  Man -God  was  suf 
ficient  for  the  sins  of  the  whole  world;  but  Jesus  Christ 
was  not  satisfied  with  that;  he  wished  to  be  wounded  and 

1  "  Quid  fecisti,  innocentissime  Salvator,  quod  sic  condemnareris  ?" 
— Lib.  de  Pass.  c.  4. 

*  "  Peccatum  tuum  amor  tuus." 


376  Darts  of  Fire. 

bruised^  for  our  iniquities,  which  means  to  say,  wounded 
and  torn  from  head  to  foot,  so  that  there  should  be  no 
whole  part  remaining  in  his  sacred  body.  Hence  the 
same  prophet  beheld  him  full  of  sores  like  a  leper.  And 
7c>e  have  thought  Him  as  it  were  a  leper,  and  as  one  struck  by 
God  and  afflicted? 

O  wounds  of  my  sorrowful  Jesus,  you  are  all  living 
evidences  of  the  love  which  my  Redeemer  preserves  for 
me;  with  tender  words  do  you  force  me  to  love  him 
for  the  many  sufferings  that  he  has  undergone  for  the  love 
of  me.  Ah,  my  sweet  Jesus,  when  shall  I  give  myself 
all  to  Thee,  as  Thou  hast  given  Thyself  all  to  me?  I 
love  Thee,  my  sovereign  good.  I  love  Thee,  my  God, 
lover  of  my  soul.  O  God  of  love,  give  me  love.  By  my 
love  let  me  atone  to  Thee  for  the  bitterness  I  have 
given  Thee  in  times  past.  Help  me  to  drive  from  my 
heart  everything  that  does  not  tend  to  Thy  love.  Eternal 
Father,  look  at  the  face  of  Thy  Christ?  look  at  the  wounds 
of  Thy  Son,  which  seek  pity  for  me,  and  for  their  sake 
pardon  me  the  outrages  that!  have  committed  against 
Thee;  take  my  heart  entirely  to  Thyself,  that  it  may  not 
love,  seek,  nor  sigh  after  any  other  but  Thee.  I  say  to 
Thee,  with  St.  Ignatius,  "  Give  me  only  love  of  Thee  and 
Thy  grace  and  I  am  rich  enough."  4  Behold  this  is  all  I 
ask  of  Thee,  O  God  of  my  soul;  give  me  Thy  love,  to 
gether  with  Thy  grace,  and  I  desire  nothing  else.  O  Mary, 
Mother  of  God,  intercede  for  me. 

1  "  Vulneratus,  attritus." 

"  Et  nos  putavimus  eum  quasi  leprosum,  et  percussum  a  Deo,  et 
humiliatum." — Isa.  liii.  4. 

"  Respice  in  faclem  Christ!  tui."— Ps.  Ixxxiii.  10. 

"Amorem  tui  solum  cum  gratia  tua  mihi  dones,  et  dives  sura 


satis. 


Darts  of  Fire.  377 

XVII. 

A  ve,  Rex  Judceorum. 
"Hail,  King  of  the  Jews.1'— Matt,  xxvii.  29. 

Thus  was  our  Redeemer  scornfully  saluted  by  the 
Roman  soldiers.  After  having  treated  him  as  a  false 
king,  and  having  crowned  him  with  thorns,  they  knelt 
before  him  and  called  him  king  of  the  Jews,  and  then, 
rising  up  with  loud  cries  and  laughter,  they  struck  him 
and  spit  in  his  face.  St.  Matthew  writes  :  And  platting  a 
crown  of  thorns,  they  put  it  on  His  head.  .  .  .  And  bowing  the 
knee  before  Him,  they  mocked  Him,  saying,  Hail,  King  of  the 
Jews;  and  spitting  upon  Him  they  took  the  reed  and  struck  His 
head.  And  St.  John  adds,  And  they  gave  Him  blows.1 

0  my  Jesus!  this   barbarous  crown  that  encircles  Thy 
head,  this  vile  reed  that  Thou  dost  hold  in  Thy  hand, 
this  torn  purple  garment  that  covers  Thee  with  ridicule, 
make  Thee  known  indeed  as  a  king,  but  a  king  of  love. 
The  Jews  will  not  acknowledge  Thee  for  their  king,  and 
they  say  to  Pilate,  We  have  no  King  but  Ccesar?  My  beloved 
Redeemer,  if  others  will  not  have  Thee  for  their  king,  I 
accept  Thee,  and  desire  that  Thou    shouldst  be  the  only 
King  of  my  soul.     To  Thee  do    I   consecrate   my  whole 
self;  dispose  of  me  as  Thou  pleasest.      For  this  end  hast 
Thou    endured   contempt,  so   many  sorrows,   and  death 
itself,  to  gain  our   hearts  and   to  reign    therein   by  Thy 
iove.     For  this  end  Christ  died,  .  .   .  that  he  might  be  Lord 
both  of  the  dead  and  of  the  living. 3    Make  Thyself,  therefore, 
master  of  my  heart,  O  my  beloved   King,  and  reign  and 

1  "  Et  plectentes  coronam  de  spinis,  posuerunt  super  caput  ejus,  et 
arundinem  in  dextera  ejus.     Et  genu  flexo  ante  eum,  illudebant  ei 
dicentes:  Ave,    Rex  Judaeorum. — Et  expuentes   in   eum,    acceperunt 
arundinem,  et  percutiebant  caput  ejus."— Matt,  xxvii.  29.—  "  Et  dabant 
ei  alapas." — John,  xix.  3. 

*  "  Non  habemus  regem,  nisi  Csesarem."— -John,  xix.  15. 
3  "  In  hoc  enim  Christus  mortuus  est  et  resurrexit,  ut  et  mortuorum 
et  vivorum  dominetur." — Rom.  xiv.  9. 


37^  Darts  of  Fire. 

exercise  Thy  sway  there  forever.  Formerly  I  refused 
Thee  for  my  Lord,  that  I  might  serve  my  passions;  now 
I  will  be  all  Thine  and  Thee  alone  will  I  serve.  Ah,  bind 
me  to  Thee  by  Thy  love,  and  make  me  always  remember 
the  bitter  death  that  Thou  hast  willed  to  suffer  for  me. 
Ah,  my  King,  my  God,  my  love,  my  all,  what  do  I  wish 
for  if  not  for  Thee  alone  \-Thee,  God  of  my  heart,  and  my 
portion,  forever?  O  God  of  my  heart  !  I  love  Thee;  Thou 
art  my  portion,  Thou  art  my  only  good. 

XVIII. 

Et  bajulans  sibi  crucem,  exivit  in  cum,  qui  dicitur  Calvaries,  locum. 

"And    bearing  His   own   Cross,  He  went    forth   to  that    place  which   is  called 

Calvary."—  Joh  n,  xix.  17. 

Behold  the  Saviour  of  the  world  has  now  set  out  on 
his  journey  with  his  cross  on  his  shoulders,  going  forth 
to  die  in  torments  for  the  love  of  men.  The  divine  Lamb 
allows  himself  to  be  led  without  complaining,  to  be  sac 
rificed  upon  the  cross  for  our  salvation.  Go  thou,  also, 
my  soul,  accompany  and  follow  thy  Jesus,  who  goes  to 
suffer  death  for  thy  love,  to  satisfy  for  thy  sins.  Tell  me 
my  Jesus  and  my  God,  what  dost  Thou  expect  from 
men  by  giving  Thy  life  for  their  sake?  St.  Bernard 
answers,  Thou  dost  expect  nothing  but  to  be  loved  by 
them:  -When  God  loves,  he  wishes  for  nothing  but  to  be 
loved  in  return."  2 

Is  it,  then,  my  Redeemer,  at  so  great  a  cost  that  Thou 
hast  desired  to  gain  our  love  ?  And  shall  there  be  any 
among  men  who  believe  in  Thee,  and  not  love  Thee? 
1  comfort  myself  with  the  thought  that  Thou  art  the 
love  of  all  the  souls  of  the  saints,  the  love  of  Marv  the 
love  of  Thy  Father;  but,  O  my  God,  how  many  are  'there 
who  will  not  know  Thee,  and  how  many  that  know  Thee 


"  Cum  amat  Deus,  non  aliud  vult,  quam  amari."-7«  Cant,  s    83. 


Darts  of  Fire.  3  79 

and  yet  will  not  love  Thee  !  Infinite  Love,  make  Thy 
self  known,  make  Thyself  loved.  All,  that  I  could  by 
my  blood  and  my  death  make  Thee  loved  by  all  !  But 
alas  that  I  have  lived  so  many  years  in  the  world  while 
I  knew  Thee,  but  did  not  love  Thee  !  But  now  at  last 
Thou  hast  drawn  me  to  love  Thee  by  Thy  so  great  good 
ness.  At  one  time  I  was  so  unhappy  as  to  lose  Thy 
grace  ;  but  the  grief  I  now  feel  for  it,  the  desire  of  being 
all  Thine,  and  still  more  the  death  Thou  hast  suffered 
for  me,  give  me  a  firm  confidence,  O  my  Love,  that 
Thou  hast  already  pardoned  me,  and  that  now  Thou 
dost  love  me.  Oh  that  I  could  die  for  Thee,  my  Jesus, 
as  Thou  hast  died  for  me!  Although  no  punishment 
awaited  those  who  love  Thee  not,  I  would  never  leave  off 
loving  Thee,  and  I  would  do  all  I  could  to  please  Thee. 
Thou  who  givest  me  this  good  iesire,  give  me  strength  to 
follow  it  out.  My  love,  my  hope,  do  not  abandon  me; 
make  me  correspond,  during  the  remainder  of  my  life 
to  the  especial  love  that  Thou  has  borne  me.  Thou  de- 
sirest  to  have  -me  for  Thine  own,  and  I  wish  to  be  all  for 
Thee.  I  love  Thee,  my  God,  my  treasure,  my  all.  I  will 
live  and  die  always  repeating,  I  love  Thee,  I  love  Thee, 
I  love  Thee. 

XIX. 

Quasi  agnus  coram  tondente  se,  obmutescet,  et  non  aperiet  os  suum. 

"  And  shall  be  dumb  as  a  lamb  before  his  shearer,  and  He  shall   not  open  his 
mouth." — /.y.  liii.  7. 

This  was  precisely  the  passage  which  the  eunuch  of 
Queen  Candace  was  reading;  but  not  understanding  of 
whom  it  was  written,  St.  Philip,  inspired  by  God,  entered 
the  carriage  in  which  the  eunuch  was,  and  explained  to 
him  that  these  words  referred  to  our  Redeemer  Jesus 
Christ.  Jesus  was  called  a  lamb  because  he  was  dragged 
into  the  praetorium  of  Pilate,  and  then  led  to  death  just 


Darts  of  Fire. 

like  an  innocent  lamb.  Therefore  the  Baptist  calls  him 
a  lamb.  Behold  the  Lamb  of  God,  behold  Him  who  taketh 
away  the  sins  of  the  world.1  A  lamb  who  suffers  and  dies 
a  victim  on  the  cross  for  our  sins.  Surely  he  hath  borne 
our  infirmities  and  carried  our  sorrows?  Miserable  are 
those  who  do  not  love  Jesus  Christ  during  their  life.  In 
the  last  day  the  sight  of  this  Lamb  in  his  wrath  will 
make  them  say  to  the  mountains,  Fall  upon  us  and  hide 
us  from  the  face  of  Him  that  sitteth  upon  the  throne,  and 
from  the  wrath  of  the  Lamb* 

No,  my  divine  Lamb,  if  in  times  past  I  have  not  loved 
Thee,  now  I  will  love  Thee  forever.     Before,  I  was  blind  ; 
but  now  that  thou  hast  enlightened  me,  and   hast  made 
me  know  the  great  evil   I  have  done  in  turning  my  back 
upon  Thee,  and  the  infinite   love  which  is  due   to   Thee 
for  Thy  goodness  and  for  the  love  Thou  hast  borne  me, 
I  repent  with  all   my  heart   for  having  offended   Thee,' 
and  I  love  Thee  above  all  things.     O  wounds,  O   blood 
of  my  Redeemer,  how  many  souls  have  you  not  inflamed 
with  love  !  inflame  my  soul  also.     Ah,  my  Jesus,  contin 
ually  call  to  my  remembrance  Thy  Passion  and  the  pains 
and  ignominies    that  Thou    hast  suffered   for  me,  that  I 
may  detach  my  affections  from  earthly  goods  and  place 
them  all   on   Thee,  my   only  and   infinite   good.     I  love 
Thee,  Lamb  of  God,  sacrificed  and  annihilated  on  the 
cross  for  my  sake.     Thou  hast  not  refused  to  suffer  for 
me;   I  will  not  refuse  to  suffer  for  Thee  whatever  Thou 
requirest.     I  will  no  longer  complain  of  the  crosses  that 
Thou  dost  send  me.     I  ought  to  have  been  in  hell  these 
many  years;  how,  then,  can  I  complain  ?     Give  me  grace 
to   love  Thee,   and   then   do  with    me   what    Thou  wilt. 

'  Ecce  Agnus  Dei,  ecce  qui  tollit  peccata  mundi."—  John,  \.  29. 
"  Vere  languores  nostros  ipse  tulit,  et  dolores  nostros  ipse  porta- 
vit." — Isa.  liii.  4. 

"Cadite   super   nos,    et   abscondite    nos   a  facie   sedentis   super 
thronum,  et  ab  ira  Agni." — Apoc.  vi.  16. 


Darts  of  Fire.  3  8 1 

Who  shall  separate  me  from  the  love  of  Christ  ?  1  Ah,  my 
Jesus,  sin  alone  can  separate  me  from  Thy  love.  Ah, 
let  it  not  be;  rather  let  me  die  a  thousand  times;  this 
I  beg  of  Thee  by  Thy  sacred  Passion.  I  beseech  thee, 
O  Mary,  by  thy  sorrows  deliver  me  from  the  death 
of  sin. 

XX. 

Deus  meus  !  Deus  meus  !  ut  quid  dereliquisti  me  ? 
"  My  God,  my  God,  why  hast  Thou  forsaken  me  1"—Matt.  xxvii.  46. 

O  God  !  who  shall  not  compassionate  the  Son  of  God, 
who  for  love  of  men  is  dying  of  grief  on  a  cross  ?  He  is 
tormented  externally  in  his  body  by  the  innumerable 
wounds,  and  internally  he  is  so  afflicted  and  sad  that 
he  seeks  solace  for  his  great  sorrow  from  the  Eternal 
Father;  but  his  Father,  in  order  to  satisfy  his  divine 
justice,  abandons  him,  and  leaves  him  to  die  desolate 
and  deprived  of  every  consolation. 

O  desolate  death  of  my  dear  Redeemer,  Thou  art  my 
hope.  O  my  abandoned  Jesus,  Thy  merits  make  me 
hope  that  I  shall  not  remain  abandoned  and  separated 
from  Thee  forever  in  hell.  I  do  not  care  to  live  in  con 
solation  on  this  earth;  I  embrace  all  the  pains  and 
desolations  that  Thou  mayest  send  me.  He  is  not 
worthy  of  consolation  who  by  offending  Thee  has 
merited  for  himself  eternal  torments.  It  is  enough  for 
me  to  love  Thee  and  to  live  in  Thy  grace.  This  alone  do 
1  beg  of  Thee,  let  me  nevermore  see  myself  deprived 
of  Thy  love.  Let  me  be  abandoned  by  all;  do  not  Thou 
abandon  me  in  this  extremity.  I  love  Thee,  my  Jesus, 
who  didst  die  abandoned  for  me.  I  love  Thee,  my 
only  good,  my  only  hope,  my  only  love. 

*  "  Quis  ergo  nos  separabit  a  charitate  Christ!  T—Rom.  viii.  35. 


382  Darts  of  Fire. 


XXI. 

Crucifixerunt  eum,  et  cum  eo  alias  duos  hinc  et  /tine,  medium  autem  Jesum. 

"  They  crucified  Him,  and  with  Him  two  others,  one  on  each  side,  and  Jesus  in  the 
midst." — John,  xix.  18. 

The  incarnate  Word  was  called  by  the  sacred  spouse, 
All  lovely;  such  is  my  beloved.1  At  whatever  period  of  his  life 
Jesus  Christ  presents  himself  to  us,  he  appears  alto 
gether  desirable  and  most  worthy  of  love,  whether  we 
see  him  as  an  infant  in  the  stable,  as  a  boy  in  the  shop 
of  St.  Joseph,  as  a  solitary  meditating  in  the  desert,  or 
bathed  in  sweat  as  he  walked  about  preaching  through 
out  Judea.  But  in  no  other  form  does  he  appear  more 
loving  than  when  he  is  nailed  to  the  cross  on  which  the 
immense  love  he  bears  us  forced  him  to  die.  St.  Francis 
de  Sales  has  said,  the  Mount  of  Calvary  is  the  hill  of 
lovers.  All  love  which  does  not  take  its  rise  from  the 
Passion  of  the  Saviour  is  weak.  How  miserable  is  the 
death  where  there  is  no  love  of  the  Redeemer!  Let  us 
stop,  then,  and  consid.er  that  this  man,  nailed  to  the 
tree  of  shame,  is  our  true  God,  and  that  he  is  here  suf 
fering  and  dying  for  nothing  but  for  the  love  of  us. 

Ah,  my  Jesus,  if  all  men  would  stand  still  and  contem 
plate  Thee  on  the  cross,  believing  with  a  lively  faith, 
that  Thou  art  their  God,  and  that  Thou  hast  died  for 
their  salvation,  how  could  they  live  far  from  Thee  and 
without  Thy  love?  And  how  could  I,  knowing  all  this, 
have  displeased  Thee  so  often  ?  If  others  have  offended 
Thee,  they  have  at  least  sinned  in  darkness;  but  I  have 
sinned  in  the  light.  But  these  pierced  hands,  this 
wounded  side,  this  blood,  these  wounds  which  I  see  in 
Thee,  make  me  hope  for  pardon  and  Thy  grace.  I  am 
grieved,  my  Love,  for  having  ever  so  despised  Thee.  But 
now  I  love  Thee  with  all  my  heart;  and  my  greatest 

1  "Totus  desiderabilis,  tails  est  Dilectus  meus."— Cant.  v.  16. 


Darts  of  Fire. 

grief  is  the  remembrance  of  my  having  despised  Thee. 
This  grief,  however,  which  I  feel,  is  a  sign  that  Thou  hast 
pardoned  me.  O  burning  heart  of  my  Jesus,  inflame  my 
poor  heart  with  Thy  love.  O  my  Jesus,  dead,  consumed 
with  sorrow  for  me,  make  me  die  consumed  with  sorrow 
for  having  offended  Thee,  and  with  the  love  Thou  dost 
merit,  I  sacrifice  myself  entirely  to  Thee,  who  hast  sac 
rificed  Thyself  entirely  for  me.  O  sorrowful  Mother 
Mary,  make  me  faithful  in  loving  Jesus! 

XXII. 

Et  inclinato  capite^  tradidit  spiritum. 
"  And  bowing  His  head,  He  gave  up  the  ghost."— John,  xix.  30 

Behold,  my  Redeemer,  to  what  Thy  love  for  men  has 
brought  Thee— even  to  die  of  sorrow  on  across,  drowned 
in  a  sea  of  grief  and  ignominy;  as  David  had  predicted 
of  Thee.  /  am  come  into  the  depth  of  the  sea,  and  a  tempest 
hath  overwhelmed  me.1  St.  Francis  de  Sales  writes  thus: 
"Let  us  contemplate  this  divine  Saviour  stretched  on 
the  cross,  as  upon  the  altar  of  his  glory,  on  which  he  is 
dying  of  love  for  us.  Ah,  why,  then,  do  we  not  in 
spirit  throw  ourselves  upon  him  to  die  upon  the  cross 
with  him  who  has  chosen  to  die  there  for  the  love  of 
us?  I  will  hold  him,  we  ought  to  say;  I  will  never  let 
him  go.  I  will  die  with  him,  and  will  burn  in  the 
flames  of  his  love;  one  and  the  same  fire  shall  devour 
this  divine  Creator  and  his  miserable  creature.  My 
Jesus  is  all  mine,  and  I  am  all  his.  I  will  live  and 
die  on  his  bosom.  Neither  life  nor  death  shall  ever 
separate  me  from  my  Jesus." 

Yes,  my  dear  Redeemer,  I  hold  fast  to  Thy  cross;  I 
kiss  Thy  pierced  feet,  touched  with  compassion  and  con- 

1  "Veni  in  altitudinem    maris,  et  tempestas  demersit  me."— /V. 

Ixviii.  3. 

2  love  of  God,  book  vii.,  ch.  8. 


Darts  of  Fire. 

founded  at  seeing  the  affection  with  which  Thou  hast 
died  for  me.  Ah,  accept  me,  and  bind  me  to  Thy  feet, 
that  I  may  no  more  depart  from  Thee,  and  may  from 
this  day  forward  converse  with  Thee  alone,  consult  with 
Thee  on  all  my  thoughts  ;  in  a  word,  may  I  henceforth 
direct  all  my  affections  so  as  to  seek  nothing  but  to  love 
Thee  and  please  Thee,  always  longing  to  leave  this  valley 
of  dangers  to  come  and  love  Thee  face  to  face  with  all  my 
strength  in  Thy  kingdom,  which  is  a  kingdom  of  eternal 
love.  In  the  mean  time  let  me  always  live,  grieving  for 
the  offences  I  have  committed  against  Thee,  and  always 
burning  with  love  for  Thee,  who  for  love  of  me  hast 
given  Thy  life.  I  love  Thee,  my  Jesus,  who  hast  died  for 
me;  I  love  Thee,  O  infinite  lover  ;  I  love  Thee,  O  infinite 
love  ;  I  love  Thee,  infinite  goodness.  O  Mary,  Mother 
of  beautiful  love,  pray  to  my  Jesus  for  me. 


XXIII. 

Oblatus  est,  quia  ipse  voluit. 
"  He  was  offered  because  it  was  His  own  will."— Isa.  liii.  7. 

The  incarnate  Word,  at  the  moment  of  his  conception, 
saw  before  him  all  the  souls  that  he  was  to  redeem! 
Then  thou  also,  my  soul,  wast  presented  with  the  guilt 
of  all  thy  sins  upon  thee,  and  for  thee  did  Jesus  Christ 
accept  all  the  pains  that  he  suffered  in  life  and  death; 
and  in  doing  so  he  obtained  for  thee  thy  pardon,  and  all 
the  graces  that  thou  hast  received  from  God— the  lights, 
the  calls  of  his  love,  the  helps  to  overcome  temptations, 
the  spiritual  consolations,  the  tears,  the  compassionate 
feelings  thou  hast  experienced  when  thinking  of  the  love 
he  had  for  thee,  and  the  sentiments  of  sorrow  in  remem 
bering  how  thou  hast  offended  him. 

Thou  didst,  then,  my  Jesus,  from  the  very  beginning 
oi  Thy  life,  take  upon  Thee  all  my  sins,  and  didst  offer 
Thyself  to  satisfy  for  them  by  Thy  sufferings.  By  Thy 


Darts  of  Fire.  385 

death  Thou  hast  delivered  me  from  eternal  death:  But 
Thou  hast  delivered  my  soul,  that  it  should  not  perish;  Thou 
hast  cast  all  my  sim  behind  Thy  back.''  Thou,  my  love, 
instead  of  punishing  me  for  the  insults  which  I  have 
added  to  those  that  Thou  hadst  already  received,  hast 
gone  on  adding  to  Thy  favors  and  mercies  towards  me,  in 
order  to  win  my  heart  one  day  to  Thyself.  My  Jesus,  this 
day  is  come;  I  love  Thee  with  all  my  soul.  Who  should 
love  Thee  if  I  do  not?  This  is  the  first  sin,  my  Jesus,  that 
Thou  hast  to  forgive  me,  that  I  have  been  so  many  years 
in  the  world  without  loving  Thee.  But  for  the  future  I 
will  do  all  I  can  to  please  Thee.  I  feel  by  Thy  grace  a 
great  desire  to  live  to  Thee  alone,  and  to  detach  myself 
from  all  created  things,  I  have  also  a  great  compunction 
for  the  displeasure  that  I  have  caused  Thee.  This  desire 
and  this  sorrow,  I  see,  my  Jesus,  are  all  Thy  gift.  Con 
tinue,  then,  my  love,  to  keep  me  faithful  in  Thy  love; 
for  Thou  knowest  my  weakness.  Make  me  all  Thine,  as 
Thou  hast  made  Thyself  all  mine.  I  love  Thee,  my  only 
good;  I  love  Thee,  my  only  love;  I  love  Thee,  my  treas 
ure,  my  all;  My  Jesus,  I  love  Thee,  I  love  Thee,  I  love 
Thee.  Help  me,  O  Mother  of  God, 

XXIV. 

Deus  Filium  suum  mittens  in  similitudinem  carnis  peccati,  et  de  peccato  dam- 
navit  peccatum  in  ccirne.  Christus  nos  redemit  de  maledictolegis  factus  pro 
nobis  maledictum,  quid  scriptum  est:  Maledictns  omnis  qui pendet  in  ligno. 

"God  sending  his  own  Son  in  the  likeness  of  sinful  flesh,  even  of  sin,  hath  con 
demned  sin  in  the  flesh." — Rom.  viii.  3.  "Christ  hath  redeemed  us  from  the 
curse  of  the  law,  being  made  a  curse  for  us,  for  it  is  written:  Cursed  is  every 
one  that  hangeth  on  a  tree." — Gal.  iii.  13. 

Hence  we  see  that  Jesus  Christ  willed  to  appear  in 
the  world  as  a  guilty  and  an  acused  man,  hanging  on 
the  cross  to  deliver  us  from  eternal  malediction. 

1  "  Tu  autem  eruisti  animam  meam,  ut  non  periret  ;  projecisti  post 
tergum  tuum  omnia  peccata  mea." — I$a.  xxxviii.  17. 

25 


386  Darts  of  Fire. 

O  eternal  Father,  for  the  love  of  this  Son  so  dear  to 
Thee,  have  pity  on  me!  And  Thou,  Jesus,  my  Redeemer, 
who  by  Thy  death  hast  liberated  mS*from  the  slavery  of 
sin  in  which  I  was  born,  and  of  the  sins  that  I  have  com 
mitted  since  my  baptism,  ah,  change  the  miserable  chains 
which  once  bound  me  a  slave  to  Satan  into  chains  of 
gold,  which  may  bind  me  to  Thee  with  a  holy  love. 
Arise  and  show  forth  in  me  the  efficacy  of  Thy  merits, 
by  changing  me,  a  sinner,  into  a  saint.  I  have  deserved 
to  be  burning  in  hell  for  many  years  past:  but  I  hope  by 
Thy  infinite  mercy,  for  the  glory  of  Thy  death,  to  burn 
with  Thy  love,  and  to  be  all  Thine.  I  wish  that  my 
heart  should  love  none  but  Thee.  Thy  kingdom  come. 
Reign,  my  Jesus,  reign  over  my  whole  soul.  May  it 
obey  Thee  alone,  seek  Thee  alone,  desire  Thee  alone. 
Away  from  my  heart,  ye  earthly  affections!  and  come,  O 
ye  flames  of  divine  love  ;  come  and  remain  alone  to 
possess  and  consume  me  for  that  God  of  love  who 
didst  die  consumed  for  me.  I  love  Thee,  my  Jesus;  I 
love  Thee,  O  infinite  Sweetness  and  my  true  lover,  I 
have  no  one  who  has  loved  me  more  than  Thou;  and 
therefore  I  give  and  consecrate  myself  to  Thee,  my 
treasure  and  my  all. 

XXV. 

Dilexit  nos,  et  lavit  nos  a  peccatis  nostris  in  sanguine  suo. 
"  He  hath  loved  us,  and  washed  us  from  our  sins  in  His  own  blood."— Apoc.  i.  5. 

So,  then,  my  Jesus,  in  order  to  save  my  soul,  Thou 
hast  prepared  a  bath  of  Thine  own  blood  wherein  to 
cleanse  it  from  the  filth  of  its  sins.  If,  then,  our  souls 
have  been  bought  by  Thy  blood,  For  you  are  bought  with 
a  great  price,1  it  is  a  sign  that  Thou  lovest  them  much; 
and  as  Thou  dost  love  them,  let  us  pray  thus  to  Thee: 
We  therefore  pray  Thee  to  help  Thy  servants,  whom  Thou 

*  "  Empti  enim  estis  pretio  magno." — j  Cor.  vi.  ?o. 


Darts  of  Fire.  387 

hast  redeemed  with  Thy  precious  blood.1  It  is  true  that  by 
my  sins  I  have  separated  myself  from  Thee,  and  have 
knowingly  lost  Thee.  But  remember,  my  Jesus,  that 
Thou  hast  bought  me  with  Thy  blood.  Ah,  may  this 
blood  not  have  been  given  in  vain  for  me,  which  was 
shed  with  so  much  grief  and  so  much  love. 

By  my  sins  I  have  driven  Thee,  my  God,  from  my  soul, 
and  have  merited  Thy  hatred;  but  Thou  hast  said  that 
Thou  wouldst  forget  the  crimes  of  a  repentant  sinner. 
But  if  he  do  penance  .  .  .  I  will  not  remember  all  his 
iniquities?  Thou  hast  further  said,  /  love  them  that  love 
me?  I  pray  Thee,  therefore,  my  Jesus,  to  forget  all  the 
injuries  that  I  have  offered  Thee,  and  love  me;  whilst  I 
also  will  now  love  Thee  more  than  myself,  and  repent 
above  all  things  for  having  offended  Thee.  Ah,  my 
beloved  Lord,  for  the  sake  of  that  blood  which  Thou 
hast  shed  for  the  love  of  me,  hate  me  no  longer,  but  love 
me.  It  is  not  enough  for  me  that  Thou  shouldst  only 
forgive  me  the  chastisement  I  deserve,  I  desire  to  love 
Thee  and  to  be  loved  by  Thee.  O  God,  who  art  all  love, 
all  goodness,  unite  me  and  bind  me  to  Thyself,  and  per 
mit  not  that  I  should  ever  be  separated  from  Thee  any 
more,  and  that  thus  I  should  deserve  Thy  hatred.  No, 
my  Jesus,  my  love,  let  it  not  be,  I  will  be  all  Thine,  and 
I  desire  that  Thou  shouldst  be  all  mine. 

XXVI. 

Humiliavit  semetipsum,factus  obcdiens  usque  ad  mortem,  mortem  autem  cruets. 

"He  humbled  Himself,   becoming  obedient  unto  death;   even  the  death  of  the 

cross." — Phil,  ii.  8. 

What  great  thing  is  that  the  martyrs  have  done  in 
giving  their  lives  for  God,  while  this  God  has  humbled 

1  "  Te  ergo  quaesumus,  tuis  famulis  subveni,  quos  pretioso  sanguine 
redemisti." 

2  "Si  impius  egerit  poenitentiam  .  .  .,  omnium  iniquitatum  ejus  .  .  . 
non  recordabor." — Ezek.  xviii.2i. 

3  "  Ego  diligences  me  diligo.  " — Prov.  viii.  17. 


388  Darts  of  Fire. 

himself  to  the  death  of  the  cross  for  their  love?  To 
render  a  just  return  for  the  death  of  a  God,  it  would  not 
be  sufficient  to  sacrifice  the  lives  of  all  men  ;  the  death  of 
another  God  for  his  love  would  alone  compensate  for  it. 
O  my  Jesus!  allow  me,  a  poor  sinner,  to  say  to  Thee,  with 
Thy  true  lover  St.  Francis  of  Assissi,  "  May  I  die,  O 
Lord,  for  the  love  of  Thy  love,  as  Thou  didst  deign  to 
die  for  the  love  of  my  love."  l 

Is  it  true,  my  Redeemer,  that  hitherto,  for  the  love  of 
my  own  pleasures,  unhappy  that  I  am!  I  have  renounced 
Thy  love  ?  Would  that  I  had  died  before,  and  had  never 
offended  Thee  !  I  thank  Thee  that  Thou  givest  me  time 
to  love  Thee  in  this  life,  that  I  may  afterwards  love  Thee 
throughout  all  eternity.  Ah,  remind  me  continually,  my 
Jesus,  of  the  ignominious  death  that  Thou  hast  suffered 
for  me,  that  I  may  never  forget  to  love  Thee  in  consid 
eration  of  the  love  that  Thou  hast  borne  me.  I  love 
Thee,  infinite  goodness;  I  love  Thee,  my  supreme  good; 
to  Thee  I  give  myself  entirely,  and  by  that  love  which 
caused  Thee  to  die  for  me,  do  Thou  accept  my  love,  and 
let  me  die,  destroy  me,  rather  than  ever  permit  me  to 
leave  off  loving  Thee.  I  will  say  to  Thee,  with  St. 
Francis  de  Sales,  "  O  eternal  Love,  my  soul  seeks  Thee, 
and  chooses  Thee  for  all  eternity.  Come,  O  Holy  Spirit, 
inflame  our  hearts  with  Thy  love.  Either  to  love  or  to 
die.  To  die  to  all  other  affections,  to  live  only  to  the 
love  of  Jesus." 3 

XXVII. 

Charitas  enim  Christi  urget  nos. 
"The  Charity  of  Christ  presseth  us." — 2  Cor.  v.  14. 

How  tender  and  full  of  unction  are  the  words  with 
which  St.  Francis  de  Sales  comments  on  this  passage  in 

1  "Moriar,  Domine,  amore  amoris  tui,  qui  amoreamoris  mei  digna-. 
tus  es  mori." 

2  Love  o/  Cod,  book  #ii.  ch,  13, 


Darts  of  Fire.  389 

his  book  of  the  divine  love  !  "  Hear  Theotimus,"  he 
says;  "  nothing  forces  and  presses  the  soul  of  man  so 
much  as  love.  If  a  man  knows  that  he  is  loved  by  any 
one,  he  feels  himself  forced  to  love  him ;  but  if  a  peasant 
is  loved  by  a  lord,  he  is  still  more  strongly  forced;  and 
if  by  a  monarch,  how  much  more  so  !  Know,  then,  that 
Jesus,  the  true  God,  has  loved  us  so  far  as  to  suffer  death, 
even  the  death  of  the  cross  for  us.  Is  not  this  to  have 
our  hearts  put  under  a  press,  and  to  feel  them  squeezed 
and  crushed  so  as  to  force  out  our  love  with  a  violence 
which  is  all  the  stronger  for  being  so  loving." 

Ah,  my  Jesus,  since  Thou  dost  desire  to  be  loved  by 
me,  remind  me  always  of  the  love  that  Thou  hast  borne 
me,  and  of  the  pains  Thou  hast  suffered  to  show  me  this 
love.  May  the  remembrance  of  them  be  ever  present  in 
my  mind  and  in  the  minds  of  all  men,  for  it  is  impossible 
to  believe  what  Thou  hast  suffered  to  oblige  us  to  love, 
and  yet  not  love  Thee.  Till  now  the  cause  of  my  negli 
gent  and  wicked  life  has  been,  that  I  have  not  thought 
of  the  affection  which  Thou,  my  Jesus,  hast  had  for  me. 
All  this  time,  however,  I  knew  the  great  displeasure  my 
sins  gave  Thee,  and  nevertheless  I  went  on  multiplying 
them.  Every  time  I  remember  this  I  should  wish  to  die 
of  grief  for  it,  and  I  should  not  now  have  courage  to  ask 
Thy  pardon,  if  I  did  not  know  that  Thou  didst  die  to  ob 
tain  forgiveness  for  me.  Thou  hast  borne  with  me  in 
order  that  at  the  sight  of  the  wrong  I  have  done  Thee? 
and  of  the  death  that  Thou  hast  suffered  for  me,  my 
sorrow  and  love  towards  Thee  should  be  increased.  I 
repent,  my  dear  Redeemer,  with  all  my  heart,  for  having 
offended  Thee,  and  I  love  Thee  with  all  my  soul.  After 
so  many  signs  of  Thy  affection,  and  after  the  many 
mercies  that  Thou  hast  shown  me,  I  promise  Thee  that 
I  will  love  none  but  Thee.  Thee  will  I  love  with  all  my 
strength;  Thou  art  my  Jesus,  my  love,  my  all.  Thou  art 
my  love,  because  in  Thee  I  have  placed  all  my  affections 


39°  Darts  of  Fire. 

Thou  art  my  all,  because  I  will  have  none  othei  but 
Thee.  Grant,  then,  that  always,  both  in  life  and  death 
and  through  all  eternity,  I  may  ever  call  Thee  my  God. 
my  love,  and  my  all. 

XXVIII. 

Charitas  enim  Christi  urget  nos. 
"  The  charity  of  Christ  presseth  us."— 2  Cor.  v.  14. 

Let  us  consider  anew  the  force  of  these  words.  The 
Apostle  means  to  say  that  it  is  not  so  much  the  thought 
of  all  that  Christ  has  suffered  for  us  that  should  con 
strain  us  to  love  him,  as  the  thought  of  the  love  that  he 
has  shown  us  in  wishing  to  suffer  so  much  for  us.  This 
love  made  our  Saviour  say,  while  he  was  yet  alive,  that 
he  was  dying  with  the  desire  that  the  day  of  his  death 
should  draw  near  to  make  us  know  the  boundless  love 
that  he  had  for  us.  I  have  a  baptism  wherewith  I  am  to  be 
baptized,  and  how  am  I  straitened  till  it  be  accomplished ! 1 
And  the  same  love  made  him  say  the  last  night  of  his 
life.  With  desire,  I  have  desired  to  eat  this pasch  with  you 
before  I  suffer.  * 

So  great,  then,  my  Jesus,  was  the  desire  that  Thou 
hadst  to  be  loved  by  us,  that  all  through  Thy  life  Thou 
didst  desire  nothing  but  to  suffer  and  to  die  for  us,  and 
so  to  put  us  under  the  necessity  of  loving  Thee  at  least 
out  of  gratitude  for  so  much  love.  Dost  Thou  so  thirst 
for  our  love  ?  How  is  it,  then,  that  we  so  little  desire 
Thine.  Alas,  that  I  should  have  been  up  to  this  time  so 
foolish  !  Not  only  have  I  not  desired  Thy  love,  but  I 
have  brought  down  upon  myself  Thy  hatred  by  losing 
my  respect  for  Thee.  My  dear  Redeemer,  I  know  the 
evil  I  have  done,  I  detest  it  above  all  my  other  sins,  and 

1  "  Baptismo  habeo  baptizari;  et  quomodo  coarctor,  usquedum  per- 
ficiatur!" — Luke,  xii.  50. 

"2  "  Desiderio  desideravi  hoc  pascha  manducare  vobiscum,  antequam 
patiar." — Ibid.  xxii.  15. 


Darts  of  Fire.  39 1 

am  soi'ry  from  the  bottom  of  my  heart.  Now  I  desire 
Th)i  love  more  than  all  the  goods  of  the  world.  My  best 
and  only  treasure,  I  love  Thee  above  all  things,  I  love 
Thee  more  than  myself,  I  love  Thee  with  all  my  soul, 
and  I  desire  nothing  but  to  love  Thee  and  to  be  loved  by 
Thee.  Forget,  my  Jesus,  the  offences  that  I  have  com 
mitted  against  Thee;  do  Thou  also  love  me,  and  love  me 
exceedingly,  that  I  may  exceedingly  love  Thee.  Thou 
art  my  love,  Thou  art  my  hope,  Thou  knowest  how  weak 
I  am;  help  me,  Jesus,  my  love;  help  me,  Jesus,  my  hope. 
Succor  me  also  with  thy  prayers,  O  Mary,  great  Mother 
of  God. 

XXIX. 

Majorem  hac  dilectionem  nemo  habet,  ut  aniinam  suam  ponat  quis pro  amicissuis, 

"  Greater  love  than  this  no  man  hath,  that  a  man  lay  down  his  life  for  his  friends." 
—Jo/in,  xv.  13. 

What  more,  O  my  soul  !  could  thy  God  do  than  to 
give  his  life  in  order  to  make  thee  love  him  ?  To  give 
his  life  is  the  greatest  mark  of  affection  that  a  man  can 
give  to  another  man  who  is  his  friend.  But  what  love 
must  that  have  been  which  our  Creator  has  shown  to  us, 
in  choosing  to  die  for  us  his  creatures  !  This  is  what  St. 
John  was  considering  when  he  wrote:  ///  this  we  have 
know/i  the  charity  of  God,  because  He  hath  laid  down  His  life 
for  us.1  Indeed,  if  faith  did  not  teach  us  that  a  God  has 
willed  to  die  to  show  us  his  love,  who  would  ever  have 
been  able  to  believe  it  ? 

Ah,  my  Jesus,  I  believe  that  Thou  hast  died  for  me, 
and  therefore  I  confess  that  I  deserve  a  thousand  hells 
for  having  repaid  with  insults  and  ingratitude  the  love 
that  Thou  hast  borne  me  in  giving  Thy  life  for  me.  I 
thank  Thy  mercy,  which  nas  promised  to  forgive  those 
that  repent.  Trusting,  then,  in  this  sweet  promise,  I 

1  "  In  hoc  cognovimus  charitatem  Dei,  quoniam  ille  animam  suam 
pro  nobis  posuit." — i  John,  iii.  16. 


Darts  of  Fire. 

hope  for  pardon  from  Thee,  repenting,  as  I  do,  with  all 
my  heart  for  having  so  often  despised  Thy  love.  But 
since  Thy  love  has  not  abandoned  me,  overcome  by  Thy 
love  I  consecrate  myself  all  to  Thee.  Thou,  my  Jesus, 
hast  finished  Thy  life  by  dying  in  agony  on  a  cross;  and 
what  recompense  can  I,  a  miserable  creature,  make  Thee? 
I  consecrate  to  Thee  my  life,  accepting  with  love  all  the 
sufferings  that  will  come  to  me  from  Thy  hand,  both  in 
life  and  in  death.  Softened  and  confounded  at  the 
great  mercy  that  Thou  hast  used  towards  me,  I  hold  fast 
Thy  cross;  at  Thy  feet  will  I  thus  live  and  die.  Ah,  my 
Redeemer,  by  the  love  that  Thou  hast  borne  me  in  dying 
for  me,  do  not  permit  me  ever  to  separate  myself  from 
Thee  again.  Make  me  always  live  and  die  in  Thy  em 
brace.  My  Jesus,  my  Jesus,  I  repeat,  make  me  always 
live  and  die  united  with  Thee. 


XXX. 

Et  ego,  si  exaltatusfuero  a  terra,  otnnia  traham  ad  me  ipsum. 

"  I,  if  I  be  lifted  up  from  the  earth,  will  draw  all  things  unto  Myself." — 
John,  xii.  32. 

Thou  hast  said,  then,  my  Saviour,  that  when  hanging 
on  the  cross  Thou  wouldst  draw  all  our  hearts  unto  Thy 
self ;  why  is  it  that  for  so  many  years  my  heart  has  gone 
far  away  from  Thee  ?  Ah,  it  is  not  Thy  fault.  How 
many  times  hast  Thou  called  me  to  Thy  love  and  I  have 
turned  a  deaf  ear?  How  many  times  too  hast  Thou 
pardoned  me,  and  affectionately  warned  me  by  remorse 
of  conscience  not  to  offend  Thee  again,  and  I  have  re 
peated  my  offence?  Ah,  my  Jesus,  send  me  not  to  hell, 
because  there  I  shall  be  cursing  forever  these  graces 
which  Thou  hast  given  me;  so  that  these  graces,  the 
illuminations  Thou  hast  given  me,  Thy  calls,  Thy  patience 
in  bearing  with  me,  the  blood  that  Thou  didst  shed  to 
save  me,  would  be  the  most  cruel  of  all  the  torments  of 


Darts  of  Fire.  393 

hell.  But  now  I  hear  Thee  call  me  again,  and  Thou  dost 
say  to  me,  with  the  greatest  love,  as  if  I  had  never  of 
fended  Thee:  Love  the  Lord  Thy  God  with  all  thy  heart? 
Thou  dost  command  me  to  love  Thee,  and  to  love  Thee 
with  all  my  heart.  But  if  Thou  didst  not  command  me, 
O  Jesus  !  how  could  I  live  without  loving  Thee,  after  so 
many  proofs  of  Thy  love  ?  Yes,  I  love  Thee,  my  supreme 
good;  I  love  Thee  with  all  my  heart.  I  love  Thee  be 
cause  Thou  dost  command  me  to  love  Thee.  I  love 
Thee  because  Thou  art  worthy  of  infinite  love.  I  love 
Thee,  and  desire  nothing  else  but  to  love  Thee,  and  noth 
ing  else  do  I  fear  except  being  separated  from  Thee,  and 
living  without  Thy  love.  Ah,  my  crucified  love,  permit 
not  that  I  ever  leave  off  loving  Thee.  Ever  call  to  my 
remembrance  the  death  that  Thou  hast  undergone  for 
me.  Remind  me  of  the  endearments  that  Thou  hast  used 
towards  me,  and  may  the  remembrance  of  them  incite 
me  more  and  more  to  love  Thee,  and  to  spend  myself 
for  Thee,  who  hast  spent  Thyself  as  a  victim  of  love  on 
the  cross  for  me. 

XXXI. 

Qui  etiani  proprio  Filio  suo  non  pepercit^  sed  pro  nobis  omnibus  tradidit  ilium 
quomodo  non  etiam  cum  illo  omnia  nobis  donavit  f 

u  He  that  spared  not  His  only  Son,  but  delivered  Him  up  for  us  all,  how  hath  He 
not  also  .  .  .  given  us  all  things  ? — Kom.  viTi.  32. 

What  flames  of  love  ought  not  these  words  enkindle 
in  our  hearts:  Delivered  Him  up  for  us  all!'2'  Divine 
justice,  offended  by  our  sins,  must  be  satisfied;  what, 
therefore,  does  God  do  ?  To  pardon  us,  he  wills  that  his 
Son  should  be  condemned  to  death,  and  should  himself 
pay  the  penalty  due  from  us:  He  spared  not  His  only  Son.* 

1  "  Diliges  Dominum  Deum  tuum  ex  toto  corde  tuo." — Matt.  xxii. 

37- 

a  <(  pro  no5is  omnibus  tradidit  ilium." — Rom.  viii.  32. 
3  "  Proprio  Filio  non  pepercit." — Rom.  viii.  32. 


394  Darts  of  Fire. 

O  God  !  if  the  eternal  Father  were  capable  of  suffering, 
what  grief  would  he  not  have  experienced  in  condemn 
ing  to  death,  for  the  sins  of  his  servants,  his  well-beloved 
and  innocent  Son  !  Let  us  imagine  that  we  see  the 
eternal  Father,  with  Jesus  dead  in  his  arms,  and  saying, 
For  the  wickedness  of  My  people  have  I  struck  Him.1  Rightly 
did  St.  Francis  of  Paula  exclaim,  in  ecstasy  of  love,  when 
meditating  on  the  death  of  Jesus  Christ,  "O  love!  O 
love!  O  love!"  On  the  other  hand,  with  what  confi 
dence  should  not  the  following  words  inspire  us:  How 
hath  He  not  also,  with  Him,  given  us  all  things  ?  2  And  how, 
my  God,  should  I  fear  that  Thou  shouldst  not  give  me 
pardon,  perseverance,  Thy  love,  Thy  Paradise,  and  all 
the  graces  that  I  can  hope  for,  now  that  Thou  hast  given 
me  that  which  is  most  dear  to  Thee,  even  Thine  own 
Son  ?  I  know  what  I  must  do  to  obtain  every  good  from 
Thee,— I  must  ask  for  it  for  the  love  of  Jesus  Christ;  of 
this  Jesus  Christ  himself  assures  me:  Amen,  amen,  I  say 
to  you,  if  you  ask  the  Father  anything  in  My  name,  He  will 
give  it  you? 

My  supreme  and  eternal  God,  I  have  hitherto  despised 
Thy  majesty  and  goodness;  now  I  love  Thee  above  all 
things;  and  because  I  love  Thee,  I  repent  with  all  my 
heart  of  having  offended  Thee,  and  would  rather  accept 
any  chastisement  than  evermore  offend  Thee.  Pardon 
me,  and  grant  me  those  graces  which  I  now  ask  of  Thee, 
confiding  in  the  promise  of  Jesus  Christ.  In  the  name  of 
Jesus  Christ  I  beseech  Thee  to  give  me  holy  persever 
ance  to  death,  give  me  a  pure  and  perfect  love  towards 
Thee,  give  me  an  entire  conformity  to  Thy  holy  will,  give 
me  finally  Paradise.  I  ask  for  all,  and  hope  for  all,  from 

"Propter  scelus  populi  mei  percussi  eum."— Isa.  liii.  8. 
"Quomodo    non  etiam    cum   illo  omnia  nobis  donavit  ?"— Rom. 
viii.  32. 

"Amen,  amen  dico  vobis:  si  quid  petieritis  Patrem  in  nomine 
meo,  dabit  vobis." — John,  xvi.  23. 


Darts  of  Fire.  395 

Thee  through  the  merits  of  Jesus  Christ.  I  deserve 
nothing;  I  am  worthy  of  punishment,  not  of  graces,  but 
Thou  dost  deny  nothing  to  those  who  pray  to  Thee  for 
the  love  of  Jesus  Christ.  Ah,  my  good  God,  I  see  that 
Thou  dost  wish  me  to  be  all  Thine;  I  also  wish  to  be 
Thine,  and  will  not  fear  that  my  sins  should  prevent  me 
from  being  all  Thine,— Jesus  Christ  has  already  satisfied 
for  them,— and  Thou,  besides,  art  ready,  for  the  love  of 
Jesus  Christ,  to  give  me  all  that  I  desire.  This  is  my 
desire  and  my  request;  my  God,  hear  me  !  I  wish  to  love 
Thee,  to  love  Thee  exceedingly;  and  to  be  altogether 
Thine.  Most  holy  Mary,  help  me. 

XXXII. 

Nos  autem pradicamus  Christum  crucifexuin,  Judeeis  quidem  scandalum,  Genti- 
bus  autem  stultitiam. 

"  But  we  preach  Christ  crucified,  unto  the  Jews  indeed  a  stumbling-block,  and  unto 
the  Gentiles  foolishness."— i  Cor.  i.  23. 

St.  Paul  assures  us  that  the  Gentiles,  hearing  it 
preached  that  the  Son  of  God  had  been  crucified  for  the 
salvation  of  mankind,  reckoned  it  folly:  But  unto  the 
Gentiles  foolishness; 1  as  if  they  said,  Who  can  believe 
such  folly,  that  a  God  should  have  willed  to  die  for  the 
love  of  his  creatures!  "It  seems  a  foolish  thing,"  says 
St.  Gregory,  "  that  a  God  should  wish  to  die  for  the  sal- 
.  vation  of  man."  a  St.  Mary  Magdalen  of  Pazzi,  also  rapt 
in  love,  exclaims  in  an  ecstasy,  Do  you  not  know,  my 
sisters,  that  my  Jesus  is  nothing  but  love  ?  rather  he  is 
mad  with  love.  I  say  that  Thou  art  mad  with  love,  my 
Jesus,  and  I  will  always  say  so. 

My  beloved  Redeemer,  oh  that  I  could  possess  the 
hearts  of  all  men,  and  with  them  love  Thee  as  Thou  de- 
servest  to  be  loved  !  O  God  of  love,  why,  after  Thou 

1  "Gentibus  autem  stultitiam."—  i  Cor.  i.  23. 

2  "Stultum  visum'est  ut  pro  hominibus  Auctor  vitse  moreretur."- 
In  Evang.  horn.  6. 


Darts  of  Fire. 

hast  shed  all  Thy  blood  in  this  world  and  given  Thy  life 
for  the  love  of  mankind,— why,  I  say,  are  there  so  few 
men  who  burn  with  Thy  love  ?  For  this  end  didst  Thou 
come,  namely,  to  kindle  in  our  hearts  the  fire  of  Thy 
love,  and  Thou  desirest  nothing  but  to  see  it  enkindled. 
I  am  come  to  cast  fire  on  the  earth,  and  what  will  I  but  that 
it  be  kindled?1  I  pray,  then,  with  the  Holy  Church,  in 
my  name  and  in  the  name  of  every  one  living,  kindle  in 
them  the  fire  of  Thy  love;  enkindle  them,  enkindle  them, 
enkindle  them  !  My  God,  Thou  art  all  goodness,  all 
love,  all  infinite  sweetness,  boundless  in  love;  make  Thy 
self  known  to  all,  make  Thyself  loved.  I  am  not  ashamed 
of  praying  thus  to  Thee,  although  up  to  this  time  I  have 

been   more  guilty  than  others  in  despising  Thy  love, 

because  now,  enlightened  by  Thy  grace,  and  wounded 
by  the  many  arrows  of  love  Thou  hast  shot  forth  from 
Thy  burning  and  loving  heart  into  my  soul,  I  am  deter 
mined  no  longer  to  be  ungrateful  to  Thee  as  I  have 
hitherto  been  ;  but  I  will  love  Thee  with  all  my  strength, 
I  desire  to  burn  with  Thy  love,  and  this  Thou  hast  to 
grant  me.  I  look  not  for  sensible  consolations  in  loving 
Thee;  I  do  not  deserve  them,  neither  do  I  ask  for  them; 
it  is  enough  for  me  to  love  Thee.  I  love  Thee,  my  sov 
ereign  good;  I  love  Thee,  my  God  and  my  all. 

XXXIII. 

Posuit  Dominus  in  eo  iniquitatem  omnium  nostrum.  .  .  ,  et  voluit  conterere  eum. 
"The  Lord   hath  laid    on  Him  the  iniquity  of  us  all.  .  .  .  And  the  Lord  hath 
pleased  to  bruise  Him."— Isa.  liii.  6,  10. 

Behold  the  extent  of  divine  love  towards  man  !  The 
eternal  Father  loads  the  shoulders  of  his  Son  with  our 
sins;  And  He  was  pleased  to  bruise  Him:  He  willed  that 
his  own  son  should  suffer  with  the  utmost  rigor  all  the 

"  Ignem  veni  mittere  in  terram:  et  quid  volo,  nisi  ut  accendatur?' 
— Luke,  xii.  49. 

2  "  Et  voluit  conterere  eum." 


Darts  of  Fire.  397 

punishment  due  to  us,  making  him  die  on  an  ignominious 
cross  overwhelmed  with  torments.  The  apostle  is  just, 
then,  when  speaking  of  this  love,  to  call  it  too  much  love 
to  ordain  that  we  should  receive  life  through  the  death 
of  his  beloved  Son.  For  His  exceeding  charity  wherewith 
He  loved  us,  even  when  we  were  dead  in  sins,  hath  quickened 
us  together  in  Christ? 

Thou  hast,  then,  my  God,  loved  me  too  much,  and  I 
have  been  too  ungrateful  in  offending  Thee  and  turning 
my    back   upon  Thee.     Ah,   eternal    Father,   look   upon 
Thine  only-begotten,  mangled  and  dead  upon  that  cross 
for  me,  and  for  the  love  of  him  pardon  me  and  draw  my 
heart  wholly  to  Thyself  to  love  Thee.     A    contrite  and 
humble  heart,  O  God,  thou  wilt  not  despise?    For  the  love  of 
Jesus  Christ  who  died  for  our  sins,  Thou  canst  not  de 
spise   a  soul  that  humbles   itself  and  repents.     I  know 
myself  to  be  deserving  of  a  thousand  hells,  but  I  repent 
with  my  whole  heart  for  having  offended  Thee,  the  su 
preme  Good.     Reject  me  not,  but  have  pity  on  me.     But 
I   am   no:  content  with   a  simple   pardon;  I  desire  that 
Thou  shouldst  give  me  a  great  love  towards  Thee,  that 
I  may  compensate  for  all  the  offences  that  I  have  com 
mitted  against  Thee.     I  love  Thee,  infinite  Goodness,  I 
love  Thee,  O  God  of  love.     It  is  but  little  if  I  should  die 
and  annihilate  myself  for  Thy  sake.     I  desire  to  know 
how  to  love  Thee  as  Thou  deservest.    But  Thou  knowest 
I   can   do  nothing;  do  Thou   make  me  grateful  for  the 
immense  love  that  Thou  hast  had  for  me.     I  beg  this  of 
Thee  for  the  love  of  Jesus,  Thy  Son.     Grant  that  I  may 
overcome  everything  in  this  life  to  please  Thee,  and  that 
in  death  I  may  expire  entirely  united  to  Thy  will,  and  so 
come  to  love  Thee  face  to  face  with  a  perfect  and  eternal 
love  in  Paradise. 

1  "  Propter  nimiam  charitatem  suam  qua  dilexit  nos,  et  cum  essemus 
mortui  peccatis,  convivificavit  nos  in  Christo."— Eph.  ii.  5. 

2  "  Cor  contritum  et  humiliatum,  Deus,  non  despicies."— /V.  1.  19. 


3  9$  Darts  of  Fire. 


xxxiv. 

Ego  sum  Pastor  bonus.     Bonus  Pastor  animam  suam  dat pro  ovibus  suis. 

"  I  am  the  Good  Shepherd.     The  good  shepherd  giveth  his  life  for  his  sheep."— 
John,  x.  ii. 

My  Jesus,  what  dost  Thou  say?  What  shepherd  would 
ever  give  his  life  for  his  sheep?  Thou  alone,  because 
Thou  art  a  God  of  infinite  love,  canst  say,  And  I  lay 
down  My  life  for  My  sheep  .^  Thou  alone  hast  been  able 
to  show  to  the  world  this  excess  of  love,  that  being  our 
God  and  our  supreme  Lord,  Thou  hast  yet  willed  to  die 
for  us.  It  was  of  this  excess  of  love  that  Moses  and 
Elias  spoke  on  Mount  Tabor:  They  spoke  of  his  decease 
that  he  should  accomplish  in  Jerusalem?  Hence  St.  John 
exhorts  us  to  love  a  God  who  was  the  first  to  love  us: 
Let  us  therefore  love  God  because  God  first  hath  loved  us.3 
As  if  he  said,  If  we  will  not  love  this  God  for  his  infinite 
goodness,  let  us  love  him  at  least  for  the  love  that  he  has 
borne  us  in  suffering  willingly  the  pains  that  were  due 
to  us. 

Remember,  then,  my  Jesus,  that  I  am  one  of  those 
sheep  for  whom  Thou  hast  given  Thy  life.  Ah,  cast  on 
me  one  of  those  looks  of  pity  with  which  Thou  didst  re 
gard  me  once  when  Thou  wast  dying  on  the  cross  for 
me;  look  on  me,  change  me,  and  save  me.  Thou  hast 
called  Thyself  the  loving  Shepherd  who,  finding  the  lost 
sheep,  takes  it  with  joy  and  carries  it  on  his  shoulders, 
and  then  calls  his  friends  to  rejoice  with  him:  Rejoice 
with  me,  for  I  hare  found  the  sheep  that  was  lost*  Behold, 

"  Et  animam  meam  pono  pro  ovibus  meis." — John,  x.  15. 
"Dicebant  excessum  ejus,  quern  completurus  erat  in  Jerusalem." 
— Ltike,  ix.  31. 

"Nos  ergo  diligamus  eum,  quoniam  Deus  prior  dilexit  nos."— 
I  John,  iv.  19. 

"  Congratulamini  mihi,  quia  inveni  ovem  meam  quee  perierat."— 
Luke.  xv.  6. 


Darts  of  Fire.  3  99 

I  am  the  lost  sheep;  seek  me  and  find  me:  I  have  gone 
astray  like  a  sheep  that  is  lost;  seek  Thy  servant.1     If  through 
my  fault  Thou  hast  not  yet  found  me,  take  me  now  and 
unite  me   and   bind  me  to  Thee,  that  Thou  mayest  not 
lose  me  again.     The  bond  must  be  that  of  Thy  love;  if 
Thou  dost  not  bind  me  with  this  sweet  chain  Thou  wilt 
again  lose  me.     Ah,  it  is  not  Thou  who  hast  been  want 
ing  in  binding  me  by  holy  love;  but  I,  an  ungrateful 
wretch,  who  have  continually  fled  from  Thee.     But  now 
I  pray  Thee,  by  that  infinite   mercy  which  caused  Thee 
to  come  down   to  the   earth  to   find   me.     Ah,  bind  me; 
but  bind   me  with  a   double  chain   of  love,  that   Thou 
mayest  not  lose  me  again,  and  that  I  may  no  more  lose 
Thee.     I  renounce  all  the  goods   and  pleasures  of  the 
world,  and  offer  myself  to  suffer  every  pain,  every  death, 
provided  that  I  live  and  die  always  united  to  Thee.     I 
love  Thee,  my  sweet  Jesus;  I   love  Thee,  my  good  Shep 
herd,  who  hast  died  for  Thy  lost  sheep;  but  know  that 
this  sheep  now  loves  Thee  more  than  himself,  and  desires 
nothing  but  to  love  Thee  and  to  be   consumed  by  Thy 
love.     Have  pity  on  him,  then,  and   permit  him  never 
again  to  be  separated  from  Thee. 

XXXV. 

Ego pono  aniinam  meant.  .  .  .  Nemo  tollit  earn  a  me,  sed  ego  pono  earn  a  meipso. 

"  I  lay  down  My  life.  ...  No  one  taketh  it  away  from  Me;  but  I  lay  it  down  of 

Myself."— Jokn,x.  17,  18. 

Behold,  then,  the  Word  Incarnate,  urged  alone  by  the 
love  that  he  preserves  towards  us,  accepts  the  death  of  the 
cross  to  give  to  man  the  life  that  he  had  lost.  Behold, 
says  St.  Thomas,  a  God  does  for  man  more  than  he 
could  have  done  if  man  had  been  (so  to  speak)  his  God, 
and  as  if  God  could  never  have  been  happy  without  man. 

1  "Erravi  sicut  ovis  quse  periit;  quaere  servum  tuum."—  Ps.  cxviii. 
176. 


400  Darts  of  Fire. 

"As  if,"  these  are  the  words  of  the  saint,  "man  had  been 
God's  god,  as  if  God  could  not  be  happy  without  him."  J 
We  sinned,  and  by  sinning  merited  eternal  punishment; 
and  what  does  Jesus  do  ?  He  takes  upon  himself  the 
obligation  of  satisfaction,  and  he  pays  for  us  by  his  suf 
ferings  and  his  death:  Surely  he  hath  borne  our  infirmities 
and  carried  our  sorrows? 

Ah,  my  Jesus,  since  I  have  been  the  cause  of  all  the 
bitterness  and  anguish  that  Thou  didst  suffer  while  liv 
ing  on  this  earth,  I  pray  Thee  make  me  share  the  grief 
that  Thou  didst  feel  for  my  sins,  and  give  me  confidence 
in  Thy  Passion.  What  would  have  become  of  me,  my 
Lord,  if  Thou  hadst  not  deigned  to  satisfy  for  me  ?  O 
infinite  Majesty,  I  repent  with  my  whole  heart  for  hav 
ing  outraged  Thee;  but  I  hope  for  pity  from  Thee,  who 
art  infinite  Goodness.  Arise,  O  Saviour  of  the  world, 
and  apply  to  my  soul  the  fruit  of  Thy  death,  and  from 
an  ungrateful  rebel  make  me  become  such  a  true  son  as 
to  love  Thee  alone,  and  to  fear  nothing  but  to  displease 
Thee.  May  that  same  love  which  made  Thee  die  on  the 
cross  for  me  destroy  in  me  all  earthly  affections.  My 
Jesus,  take  my  whole  body  to  Thyself  in  such  a  way  that 
it  may  only  serve  to  obey  Thee;  take  my  heart,  that  it 
may  desire  nothing  but  Thy  pleasure;  take  my  whole 
will,  that  it  may  wish  for  nothing  but  what  is  according 
to  Thy  will.  I  embrace  Thee  and  press  Thee  to  my 
heart,  my  Redeemer.  Ah,  do  not  disdain  to  unite  Thy 
self  to  me.  I  love  Thee,  O  God  of  love.  I  love  Thee, 
my  only  good.  How  could  I  have  the  heart  to  leave 
Thee  again,  now  that  Thou  hast  taught  me  how  much 
Thou  hast  loved  me,  and  how  many  mercies  Thou  hast 
shown  me,  changing  the  punishments  that  were  due  to 

"  Quasi  homo  Dei  Deus  esset,  quasi  sine  ipso  beatus  esse  non 
posset." — Opusc.  63,  c.  7. 

"Vere  languores  nostros  ipse  tulit,  et  dolores  nostros  ipse  por- 
tavit," — Jsa.  liii.  4. 


Darts  of  Fire.  4°! 

me  into  graces  and  caresses  ?     O  holy  Virgin,  obtain  for 
me  the  grace  of  being  grateful  to  thy  Son. 

XXXVI. 

Debits  quod  adversus  nos  crat  chirographum  decreti,  quod  erat  contrarium 

nobis,  et  ipsuin  tulit  de  media,  affigens  illud  cruet. 

"  Blotting  out  the  handwriting  of  the  decree  that  was  against  us,  which  was  con 
trary  to  us.  And  he  hath  taken  the  same  out  of  the  way,  fastening  it  to  the 
cross."— Coloss.  ii.  14. 

The  sentence  was  already  recorded  against  us  that  was 
to  condemn  us  to  eternal  death,  as  rebels  of  the  offended 
Majesty  of  God.  And  what  has  Jesus  Christ  done? 
With  his  blood  he  has  cancelled  the  writing  of  the  con 
demnation,  and,  to  deliver  us  from  all  fear,  he  has  fast 
ened  it  to  his  own  cross,  on  which  he  died  to  satisfy  for 
us  to  the  divine  justice.  My  soul,  behold  the  obligation 
that  thou  art  under  to  thy  Redeemer;  and  hear  how  the 
Holy  Spirit  now  reminds  thee:  Forget  not  the  kindness  of 
thy  surety^  Forget  not  the  kindness  of  thy  surety,  who, 
taking  upon  himself  thy  debts,  has  paid  them  for  thee; 
and  behold,  the  pledge  of  the  payment  has  been  already 
fixed  to  the  cross.  When,  therefore  thou  dost  remem 
ber  thy  sins,  look  upon  the  cross,  and  have  confidence; 
look  on  that  sacred  wood  stained  with  the  blood  of  the 
Lamb  of  God  sacrificed  for  thy  love,  and  hope  in  and 
love  a  God  who  has  loved  thee  so  much. 

Yes,  my  Jesus,  I  hope  everything  from  Thy  infinite 
goodness^  It  is  property  of  Thy  divine  nature  to  render 
good  for  evil  to  those  who  repent  of  their  sins,  are  sorry 
for  having  committed  them,  and  who  love  Thee.  Yes,  I 
am  sorry  above  all  things,  my  beloved  Redeemer,  for 
having  so  much  despised  Thy  goodness,  and,  wounded 
by  Thy  love,  I  love  Thee,  and  I  ardently  desire  to  please 
Thee  in  everything  that  is  Thy  will.  Alas  !  when  I  was 

1  "Gratiam  fidejussoris  ne  obliviscaris;  dedit  enim  pro  te  animam 
suam." — Ecclus,  xxix.  20, 
26 


4O2  Darts  of  Fire. 

in  sin,  I  was  the  servant  of  the  devil,  and  he  was  my 
master.  Now  that  I  hope  to  remain  in  Thy  grace,  Thou 
alone,  my  Jesus,  art  the  only  Lord  of  my  heart,  and  my 
only  Love.  Take  possession  of  me,  then;  keep  me  al 
ways,  possess  me  entirely;  for  Thine  only  do  I  desire  to 
be.  No,  nevermore  will  I  forget  the  pains  that  Thou 
hast  suffered  for  me;  so  shall  I  be  more  and  more  inflamed, 
and  increase  in  Thy  love.  I  love  Thee,  my  most  dear 
Redeemer;  I  love  Thee,  O  Word  Incarnate;  my  treasure, 
my  all,  I  love  Thee,  I  love  Thee. 


XXXVII. 

Si  quis  peccaverit,  advocatum  habcmus  npud  Patrem  Jesuin  Christum  justum^ 
et  ipse  est  propitiatio  pro  peccaiis  nostris. 

"  But  if  any  man  sin,  we  have  an  Advocate  with  the  Father,  Jesus  Christ  the  Just, 
and  he  is  the  propitiation  for  our  sins." — i  John,  ii.  i. 

Oh,  what  great  confidence  do  these  words  give  to 
penitent  sinners!  Jesus  Christ  is  in  heaven,  advocating 
their  cause,  and  he  is  certain  to  obtain  pardon  for  them. 
The  devil,  when  a  sinner  has  escaped  from  his  chains, 
tempts  him  to  be  diffident  of  obtaining  pardon.  But  St. 
Paul  encourages  him,  saying,  Who  is  He  that  sJiall  con 
demn  ?  Jesus  Christ  that  died,  .  .  .  who  also  maketh  inter 
cession  for  us.1  The  Apostle  means  to  say,  If  we  detest 
the-sins  that  we  have  committed,  why  do  we  fear?  Who  is 
he  who  will  condemn  us?  It  is  Jesus  Christ,  the  same 
who  died,  that  we  might  not  be  condemned,  and  who  is 
now  in  heaven,  where  he  is  advocating  our  cause.  He 
goes  on  to  say,  Who  then  shall  separate  us  from  the  lore  of 
Christ?'1  As  if  he  would  say,  But  after  we  have  been 
pardoned  with  so  much  love  by  Jesus  Christ,  and  have 
been  received  into  his  grace,  who  could  have  the  heart 

1  '•  Quis  est  quicondemnet  ?    Christus  Jesus,  qui  mortuus  est  .   .   .  , 
qui  etiam  interpellat  pro  nobis." — Rom.  viii.  34. 

2  "Quis  ergo  nos  separabita  charitate  Christi  ?"—  Rom.  viii.  35. 


Darts  of  Fire.  4°  3 

to  turn  his  bacK  upon  him,  and  separate  himself  from 
his  love  ? 

No,  my  Jesus,  I  no  longer  rely  upon  myself  so  as  to 
live  separated  from  Thee  and  deprived  of  Thy  love.  I 
weep  over  the  unhappy  days  when  *  lived  without  Thy 
grace.  Now  I  hope  that  Thou  hast  pardoned  me  I 
love  Thee,  and  Thou  lovest  me.  But  Thou  dost  love 
with  a  boundless  love,  and  I  love  Thee  so  little;  give  me 
more  love.  Infinite  Goodness,  I  repent  above  all  things 
for  having  hitherto  so  ill-treated  Thee;  now  I  love  Thee 
above  all  things,  I  love  Thee  more  than  myself;  and  I 
take  more  delight,  my  God,  in  knowing  that  Thou  art 
infinitely  blessed  than  in  my  own  happiness,  because  I 
love  Thee  better — being,  as  Thou  art,  worthy  of  infinite 
love — than  myself,  who  deserve  nothing  but  hell.  My 
J^sus,  I  wish  for  nothing  from  Thes,  but  Thyself. 


XXXVIII. 

Venite  ad  me  omnes,  qui  laboratis  et  onerati  estz's,  et  ego  reficiam  vos. 

"  Come  to  Me,  all  you  that  labor,  and  are  burdened,  and  I  will  refresh  you."— 
Matt.  xi.  28. 

Let  us  listen  to  Jesus  Christ,  who  from  the  cross  to 
which  he  is  nailed,  and  from  the  altar  where  he  dwells 
under  the  sacramental  species,  calls  us  poor  afflicted  sin 
ners  to  console  us  and  enrich  us  with  his  graces.  Oh, 
what  two  great  mysteries  of  hope  and  love  to  us  are  the 
Passion  of  Jesus  Christ  and  the  Sacrament  of  the 
Eucharist ! — mysteries  which,  if  faith  did  not  make  us 
certain  of  them,  would  be  incredible.  That  God  should 
deign  to  shed  even  the  very  last  drop  of  his  blood  !  (for 
this  is  the  signification  of  effundetur}.  This  is  My  Blood, 
.  .  .  which  shall  be  shed  for  ma?iy.1  And  why  ?  To  atone 
for  our  sins.  But  then  to  will  to  give  his  own  body  as 

1  "  Hie    est    sanguis    meus,    qui    pro    multis    effundetur. " — Matt, 

xxvi.  28. 


404  Darts  of  Fire. 

food  for  our  souls, — that  body  which  had  already  been 
sacrificed  on  the  cross  for  our  salvation  !  These  sub 
lime  mysteries  must  surely  soften  the  hardest  hearts,  and 
raise  up  the  most  desperate  sinners.  Finally,  the  Apos 
tle  says  that  in  Jesus  Christ  we  are  enriched  with  every 
good,  so  that  no  grace  is  wanting  to  us:  In  all  things  you 
are  made  rich  in  Him.  .  .  .  So  that  nothing  is  wanting  to 
you  in  any  graced  It  is  enough  that  we  invoke  this  God 
for  him  to  have  mercy  on  us;  and  he  will  abound  in 
grace  to  all  who  pray  to  him,  as  the  same  Apostle- as 
sures  us:  Rich  nnto  all  who  call  upon  Him? 

If,  then,  my  Saviour,  I  have  reason  to  despair  of  par 
don  for  the  offences  and  treacheries  that  I  have  been 
guilty  of  towards  Thee,  I  have  still  greater  reason  to  trust 
in  Thy  goodness.  My  Father,  I  have  forsaken  Thee, 
like  an  ungrateful  son;  but  I  now  return  to  Thy  feet, 
full  of  sorrow  and  covered  with  confusion  for  the  many 
mercies  that  Thou  hast  shown  me;  and  I  say  with  shame, 
Father,  I  am  not  worthy  to  be  called  Thy  son?  Thou  hast 
said  that  there  is  rejoicing  in  heaven  when  a  sinner  is 
converted:  There  shall  be  joy  in  heaven  upon  one  sinner  that 
doth  penance."  Behold,  I  leave  all  and  turn  to  Thee,  my 
crucified  Father;  I  repent  with  my  whole  heart  for  hav 
ing  treated  Thee  with  such  contempt  as  to  turn  my  back 
upon  Thee.  Receive  me  again  to  Thy  grace,  and  in 
flame  with  Thy  holy  love,  so  that  I  may  never  leave  Thee 
again.  Thou  hast  said,  I  am  come  that  they  may  have  life, 
and  may  Jiave  it  more  abundantly?  Wherefore  I  hope  to  re 
ceive  from  Thee,  not  only  Thy  grace  as  I  enjoyed  it  be- 

"  In  omnibus  divites  facti  estis  in  illo  .  .  .  ita  ut  nihil  vobis  desit 
in  ulla  gratia."— i  Con  i.  5. 

"Dives  in  omnes  qui  invocant  ilium." — Rom.  x.  12. 

"Pater,  non  sum  dignus  vocari  filius  tuus." — Luke,  xv.  21. 

"Gaudium  erit  in  coelo  super  uno  peccatore  poenitentiam  agente." 
— .Luke,  xv.  7. 

5  "  Veni  ut  vitam  habeant,  et  abundantius  habeant."— John,  x.  IO. 


Darts  of  Fire.  405 

tore  I  offended  Thee,  but  a  grace  more  abundant,  which 
shall  make  me  become  all  on  fire  with  Thy  love.  Oh 
that  I  could  love  Thee,  my  God,  as  Thou  dost  deserve 
to  be  loved  !  I  love  Thee  above  all  things.  I  love  Thee 
more  than  myself.  I  love  Thee  with  all  my  heart;  and 
I  aspire  after  heaven,  where  I  shall  love  Thee  for  all 
eternity.  What  is  there  to  me  in  heaven,  and  besides  TJiee 
what  have  I  desired  on  earth  ?  O  God,  God  of  my  heart  and 
my  portion  forever?  Ah,  God  of  my  heart,  take  and  keep 
possession  of  all  my  heart,  and  drive  from  it  every  af 
fection  that  does  not  belong  to  Thee.  Thou  art  my  only 
treasure,  my  only  love.  I  wish  for  Thee  alone,  and 
nothing  more.  O  Mary,  my  hope,  by  thy  prayers  draw 
me  all  to  God. 

1  "Quid  enim  mihi  est  in  coelo  ?  et  a  te  quid  volui  super  terrain  ? 
.  Deus  cordis  mei,  et  pars  mea,  Deus,  in  seternum." — Ps.  Ixxii. 

25. 


406  Hymn. 

HYMN. 
The  Soul  sighing  for  Jesus. 

This  heart  of  mine  is  sighing, 
And  yet  I  know  not  why  ; 

Its  sighs  with  love  are  laden, 
But  whither  do  they  fly  ? 

My  trembling  heart,  oh,  tell  me, 
Wherefore  these  burning  sighs  j* 

"  I  sigh  for  God,  I  languish 
For  Jesus,"  it  replies. 

Sigh  on,  my  heart,  and  cease  not 
With  sighs  of  love  to  swell ; 

Spend  all  thy  life  in  loving 
Him  who  loves  thee  so  well. 

Sigh  on,  and  let  thy  Jesus 
Alone  possess  thy  breast, 

And  all  thy  hope  in  Mary 
With  childlike  spirit  rest. 

Send  forth  thy  sighs  like  arrows 
To  wound  thy  conqu'ror's  heart, 

Then  hope  for  gifts  the  choicest 
His  goodness  can  impart. 

My  trembling  sighs,  ah,  hasten, 
To  Jesus  haste  away  ; 

Then  at  his  feet  take  refuge, 
And  there  forever  stay. 

Say  that  a  heart  all  burning 
With  love  has  sent  you  there; 

And  ask  what  it  shall  bid  you, 
For  he  will  grant  its  prayer. 

To  love  with  all  its  being 
Is  all  the  gift  it  sues ; 

Ask, — for  to  one  that  loves  him 
No  prayer  can  God  refuse, 


Pioiis  Sentiments.  407 


Sentiments  of  a  Soul  tfyat  IDcsircs  to  Belong 
(Entire  IB  to  lesus  Christ. 

I. 

Sentiments  of  a  Lively  Faith. 

O  ye  atheists,  who  believe  not  in  God,  fools  that  you 
are;  if  you  do  not  believe  that  there  is  a  God,  tell  me 
who  created  you  ?  How  can  you  imagine  that  there  are 
creatures  existing,  without  a  previous  power  having 
created  them  ?  This  world  which  you  admire,  governed 
as  it  is  in  so  beautiful  and  constant  an  order, — could 
chance,  which  has  neither  order  nor  mind,  ever  have  made 
it  ?  Poor  wretches  !  you  try  to  persuade  yourselves 
that  the  soul  dies  like  the  body;  but,  O  God,  what  will 
you  say,  when  in  the  next  world  you  find  that  your  souls 
are  immortal,  and  that  throughout  eternity  you  will  be 
unable  to  repair  the  ruin  you  have  incurred  ? 

But  if  you  believe  that  there  is  a  God,  you  must  also  be 
lieve  that  there  is  a  true  religion  :  and  if  you  do  not  be 
lieve  that  the  religion  of  the  Roman  Catholic  Church  is 
the  true  one,  tell  me  which  is  the  true  one  ?  Perhaps  that 
of  the  Pagans,  who  admit  many  gods,  and  so  destroy 
and  deny  all  of  them.  Perhaps  that  of  the  Mahome 
tans,  which  is  a  mixture  of  fables,  of  follies,  and  of  con 
tradictions  ;  a  religion  invented  by  an  infamous  im 
postor,  and  framed  rather  for  beasts  than  for  men.  Per 
haps  that  of  the  Jews,  who,  indeed,  had  at  one  time  the 
true  faith  ;  but  because  they  rejected  their  expected 
Redeemer,  who  taught  the  new  law  of  grace,  they  have 
lost  their  faith,  their  country,  and  all.  Perhaps  that  of 
those  heretics  who,  separating  themselves  from  our 
Church,  which  was  first  founded  by  Jesus  Christ,  and 


408  Pioits  Sentiments. 

to  whom  he  promised  that  she  should  never  fail,  have 
confused  all  revealed  dogmas  in  such  a  way  that  the 
belief  of  each  one  is  contrary  to  that  of  his  neighbor. 

Ah !  it  is  most  evident  that  our  faith  is  the  only  true 
one.  Either  there  is  faith,  and  then  there  can  be  no 
other  true  religion  but  ours  ;  or  there  is  no  faith,  and 
then  all  religions  are  false.  But  this  cannot  be  ;  for  if 
there  is  a  God,  there  must  be  a  true  faith  and  a  true 
religion. 

But  what  much  greater  fools  are  those  Christians 
who  hold  the  true  faith,  and  live  as  if  they  did  not  be 
lieve  it  !  They  believe  that  there  is  a  God,  a  just 
Judge,  that  there  is  a  paradise  and  an  eternal  hell  ;  and 
yet  they  live  as  if  there  were  no  judgment,  no  heaven,  no 
hell,  no  eternity,  no  God. 

O  God,  how  can  Christians  believe  in  Jesus  Christ, 
believe  in  a  God  born  in  a  stable,  a  God  living  obscurely 
in  a  shop  for  thirty  years,  working  for  his  livelihood 
every  day  as  a  simple  servant ;  in  fine,  how  can  they  be 
lieve  in  a  God  nailed  on  a  cross,  and  dying,  consumed 
with  grief  ;  and  not  only  not  love  him,  but  even  make 
a  mockery  of  him  by  their  sins  ! 

O  holy  faith,  enlighten  all  those  poor  blind  creatures 
who  run  to  eternal  perdition  !  But  this  light  does  ever 
shine  forth  and  enlighten  all  men,  both  the  faithful  and 
unbelievers  :  True  light,  which  enlighteneth  every  man.1 
How  is  it,  then,  that  so  many  are  lost  ?  O  cursed  sin, 
thou  dost  blind  the  minds  of  so  many  poor  souls,  who 
open  their  eyes  when  they  enter  eternity  ;  but  then  they 
can  no  more  remedy  their  error  ! 

How  is  it,  my  Jesus,  that  so  many  of  Thy  servants 
have  shut  themselves  up  in  caves  and  deserts,  to  attend 
only  to  their  salvation  ;  so  many  nobles  and  even 
princes  have  retired  to  the  cloister,  in  order  to  live  in 
poverty  and  unknown  to  the  world,  to  make  sure  of 
1  "Lux  vera,  quae  illuminat  omnem  hominem.— John,  i.  9. 


Pious  Sentiments. 

their  eternal  salvation  ;  so  many  martyrs  have  left  all; 
so  many  tender  virgins  have  renounced  marriage  with 
the  highest  nobles  of  the  earth,  and  have  embraced  such 
torments  as  the  rack,  have  braved  the  axe,  the  coat  of 
mail,  the  red-hot  gridirons,  and  the  most  cruel  deaths, 
rather  than  lose  Thy  grace  ;  while  so  many  others  live 
in  sins  and  far  from  Thee  for  months  and  years  ? 

I  thank  Thee,  my  Jesus,  for  the  light  Thou  givest  me, 
by  which  Thou  makest  me  know  that  the  goods  of  this 
world  are  but  smoke,  filth,  vanity,  and  deceit,  and  that 
Thou  art  the  true  and  only  good. 

My  God,  I  thank  Thee  that  Thou  hast  given  me  this 
faith,  and  that  Thou  hast  made  it  so  clear  to  us  by  the 
fulfilment  of  prophecies,  by  the  truth  of  miracles,  by 
the  constancy  of  martyrs,  by  the  sanctity  of  the  doc 
trine,  and  by  the  wonderful  propagation  of  the  same 
throughout  all  the  world;  so  that  if  it  were  not  true,  it 
would  be  impossible  not  to  say  that  Thou  hadst  deceived 
us,  in  proving  it  to  us  by  the  numerous  testimonies  that 
Thou  hast  given  us  of  it. 

I  believe  all  that  the  Church  teaches  me  to  believe, 
because  Thou  hast  revealed  all  to  us.  Nor  do  I  pretend 
to  comprehend  intellectually  those  mysteries  which  are 
above  my  mind;  it  is  enough  that  Thou  hast  said  so.  I 
pray  Thee  to  increase  Thy  faith  in  me.1 

II. 

Sentiments  of  Confidence. 

My  Jesus,  the  sight  of  my  sins  makes  me  afraid;  but 
the  sight  of  Thee  cnicified  animates  and  consoles  me 
still  more.  Thou  wilt  not  deny  me  pardon,  since  Thou 
hast  given  me  Thy  blood  and  Thy  life.  Wounds  of 
Jesus,  ye  are  my  hope  ! 

My   dear  Redeemer,  at  my  death,  in  those  last   and 

1  "  Adauge  nobis  fidem." — Luke,  xvii.  5. 


4  JO  Pious  Sentiments. 

more  vehement  assaults  which  hell  will  make  against 
me,  Thou  must  be  my  consolation.  I  hope  that  by  the 
bitter  death  Thou  didst  undergo  for  me,  Thou  wilt 
make  me  die  in  Thy  grace  and  burning  with  love  to 
Thee.  And  by  those  three  hours  of  agony  which  Thou 
didst  suffer  on  the  cross,  give  me  the  grace  to  suffer 
with  resignation  and  for  Thy  love  all  the  pains  of  my 
agony.  And  thou,  Mary,  by  that  grief  which  thou  didst 
feel  when  Jesus  thy  Son  expired,  obtain  for  me  the 
grace  that  my  soul  may  expire  while  making  an  act  of 
the  love  of  God;  and  may  come  and  love  him,  together 
with  thee,  for  all  eternity  in  Paradise. 

My  Jesus,  by  Thy  merits   I  hope  for  the  pardon  of  all 
the  outrages  that  I  have  committed  against  Thee.     How 
can  I,  my  crucified   Love,  fear  to   obtain   forgiveness,  if 
Thou  hast  died  in   order  to  pardon    me  ?     How  can    I 
doubt  Thy  mercy,  whilst  it    is  that  which   made    Thee 
come  down  from  heaven  to  seek  after  my  soul  ?     How 
can  I  fear  that  Thou  wilt  deny  me  grace  to  love  Thee, 
if  Thou  hast  suffered  so  much  to  gain  my  heart  ?     How 
can  I  fear  that  the  sins  which  I  have  committed,  and  of 
which  I   repent   with  all   my  heart,  may   deprive   me  of 
Thy  grace,  if  Thou  hast  shed  all  Thy  blood  to  wash  me 
from  my  sins,  and  to  enable  me  to  regain   Thy  friend 
ship  ?     I  see  that  Thou  dost  give  me  an  abhorrence  of 
the  insults  I  have  offered  Thee,  Thou  givest  me  light  to 
know   the    vanity   of    the    things    of    the    world,  Thou 
makest   me  know  the   love   that   Thou   hast  borne  me, 
Thou  givest  me  the  desire  of  being  all  Thine  ;— all  these 
are  signs  that  Thou  dost  desire  to  save  me;  and  I  desire 
to  be  saved,  to  come  to  heaven,  where  I  shall  praise  Thy 
mercies  forever.1     May  the  grief  that  I  feel  for  having 
offended  Thee  remain  always  present  to  my  mind,  and 
may  the  desire  ot  loving  Thee  with  all  my  heart  be  fixed 
there  too ! 

"  Misericordias  Domini  in  sternum  cantabo."— Ps.  Ixxxviii.  2. 


Pious  Sentiments,  411 

My  beloved  Redeemer,  my  Judge,  when,  at  the  point 
of  death,  I  shall  enter  into  Thy  presence,  ah,  drive  me 
not  away  from  Thy  face:  When  Thou  comest  to  judge, 
condemn  me  not.1  Send  me  not  to  hell,  because  in  hell 
I  cannot  love  Thee.  Ah,  let  not  those  wounds  which 
Thou  bearest  imprinted  in  Thee  as  signs  of  the  love 
that  Thou  hast  borne  me,  be  an  eternal  torment  to  me  ! 
Pardon  me,  then,  before  the  hour  of  judgment  shall 
come.  Grant  that,  the  first  time  I  see  Thee,  Thy  look 
may  be  one  of  mercy,  and  not  of  anger  ;  declare  me 
then  to  be  Thy  chosen  sheep,  and  not  a  lost  goat. 

"Thou  sufferedst  upon  the  tree  ; 
Let  not  vain  Thy  labor  be." 

Let  not  Thy  blood  have  been  wasted  in  my  regard. 

I  am  a  sinner,  it  is  true  ;  but  Thou  sayest  Thou  de- 
sirest  not  the  death  of  the  sinner:  I  desire  not  the  death 
of  the  wicked  ;  but  that  the  wicked  turn  from  his  way  and 
live.'2'  I  give  up  all,  I  renounce  all  the  goods  of  this 
world, — pleasures,  riches,  dignities,  honors.  I  see  that 
they  are  all  filth,  lies,  and  poison  ;  and  I  turn  to  Thee, 
my  God.  My  crucified  Jesus,  Thee  alone  do  I  desire, 
and  nothing  more  ! 

0  God  !  Thou  hast  given  Thy  life,  my  dear  Redeemer, 
to  gain  heaven  for  me  ;  and  I,  by  my  accursed  pleasures, 
have  lost  heaven,  and  Thee  the  Infinite  Good.     I  am  not 
worthy  to  come  into   that   kingdom  of  saints  ;  but  Thy 
blood  and  Thy  death  encourage  me  to  hope  this.     Yes, 
I  hope  and  wish  for  heaven  ;  I   desire   it,  my  Jesus,  not 
in  order  to  enjoy  more,  but  to  be  able  to  love  Thee  bet 
ter,  and  to  be  certain  of  loving  Thee  always. 

When,  my  love  and  my  all,  shall  I  see  myself  embrac- 

1  "Cum  veneris  judicare,  noli  me  condemnare." 

*2 "  Nolo  mortem  impii,  sed   ut   convertatur  .   .  .  et  vivat. — Ezek. 
xxxiii.  ii. 


412  Pioits  Sentiments. 

ing  Thy  feet,  and  kissing  those  wounds  which  have  been 
the  pledge  of  Thy  love,  and  the  cause  of  my  salvation  ? 
I  read,  my  Jesus,  in  my  conscience,  the  sentence  of  death 
which  I  deserve  for  the  offences  that  I  have  committed 
against  Thee  ;  but  I  read  also  upon  Thy  cross  the  sen 
tence  of  pardon  which  Thou  hast  obtained  for  me  by 
Thy  death  :  In  Thee,  O  Lord,  have  I  hoped;  I  shall  never  be 
confounded,1 

My  dear  Saviour,  I  hope  Thou  hast  pardoned  me  all 
the  past.  When  I  call  to  mind  the  many  times  I  have 
betrayed  Thee,  I  tremble  for  the  future  ;  but  this  very 
fear  increases  my  confidence,  because,  knowing  my 
weakness,  I  see  that  I  can  no  longer  trust  in  myself  nor 
in  the  resolutions  I  have  taken,  and  therefore  I  hope  in 
Thee  alone  to  give  me  strength  to  be  faithful. 

I  am  terrified  at  the  thought  of  not  knowing  whether 
I  shall  be  saved  or  lost  ;  but  seeing  Thee,  Jesus,  my  Be 
loved,  expiring  on  the  cross  for  my  salvation,  I  am  ani 
mated  by  a  sweet  hope,  which  consoles  me,  and  tells  me 
that  I  shall  love  Thee  without  ceasing  both  in  this  life 
and  in  the  next  ;  it  tells  me  that  one  day  I  shall  find 
myself  in  the  kingdom  of  love,  where  I  shall  be  entirely 
and  forever  consumed  with  Thy  love,  without  the  fear 
of  losing  Thee  again.  At  this  moment  I  do  not  even 
know  whether  I  am  worthy  of  Thy  love  or  Thy  hatred  ; 
but  I  feel  a  great  hatred  of  sin,  I  am  disposed  to  suffer 
any  death  rather  than  lose  Thy  grace,  I  have  a  great  de 
sire  to  love  Thee  and  to  be  all  Thine  ;  these  are  all  Thy 
gifts,  and  they  are  signs  that  Thou  lovest  me.  If,  then, 
I  have  reason  to  fear  on  account  of  my  sins,  I  have  still 
greater  reason  to  confide  in  Thy  goodness  through  the 
mercies  Thou  dispensest  to  me.  I  abandon  myself 
therefore  into  Thy  hands, — those  hands  which  were 
pierced  and  nailed  to  the  Cross,  to  rescue  me  from  hell : 

1  "  In    te,    Domine,   speravi  ;    non    confundar    in  seternum." — Ps. 

XXX.   2. 


Pious  Sentiments.  413 

Into  Thy  hands  I  commend  my  spirit:  Thou  hast  redeemed  me, 
O  Lord,  the  God  of  truth.1 

The  Apostle  says  :  He  that  spared  not  even  His  own 
Son,  but  delivered  Him  up  for  us  all,  how  hath  He  not  also, 
with  Him,  given  us  all  things  ? 2  If,  then,  O  my  Jesus, 
Thy  Father  has  given  Thee  to  us,  and  has  sent  Thee  to 
die  for  us,  how  can  we  fear  that  he  will  refuse  us  par 
don,  his  grace,  perseverance,  his  love,  and  paradise  ? 
With  Him  all  things,  all  things  without  exception,  has  He 
given  us.  Yes,  my  Redeemer,  I  hope  all  from  the  Blood 
Thou  hast  shed  for  me  :  Help  Thy  servants,  whom  Thou 
hast  redeemed  by  Thy  precious  blood? 

O  Queen  of  Heaven  !  O  Mother  of  God,  our  hope, 
and  the  refuge  of  sinners,  have  pity  on  us  ! 4 

III. 
Sentiments  of  Penitence. 

My  Jesus,  by  that  hatred  which  Thou  hadst  for  my 
sins  in  the  garden  of  Gethsemani,  give  me  a  true  sorrow 
for  all  the  offences  that  I  have  committed  against  Thee. 
O  my  accursed  sins,  I  hate  and  detest  you  ;  ye  have 
made  me  lose  the  grace  of  my  Lord.  I  repent,  my 
Jesus,  for  having  turned  my  back  upon  Thee.  Would 
that  I  had  suffered  any  evil,  rather  than  ever  have  of 
fended  Thee  ! 

Ah,  my  sweet  Redeemer,  when  I  remember  all  the 
displeasure  that  I  have  given  Thee,  I  do  not  weep  so 
much  on  account  of  the  hell  I  have  deserved,  as  on  ac- 

1  "  In    manus     tuas    commendo    spiritum    meum  ;    redemisti    me, 
Domine,  Deus  veritatis." — Ps.  xxx.  6. 

2  "  Qui  etiam  proprio  Filiosuo  non  pepercit,  sed  pro  nobis  omnibus 
tradidit  ilium  ;  quomodo  non  etiam  cum  illo  omnia  nobis  donavit?" 
— Rom.  viii.  32. 

3  "  Tuis  famulis  subveni,  quos  pretioso  sanguine  redemisti." 

4  "  Spes  nostra  !  salve  ;  Refugium  peccatorum  !  ora  pro  nobis." 


414  Pious  Sentiments. 

count  of  the  /ove  Thou  hast  borne  me  !  Yes  ;  because 
the  fire  of  hell  which  I  have  deserved  is  not  so  great  as 
the  immense  love  that  Thou  hast  shown  me  in  Thy  Pas 
sion.  And  how  is  it,  O  God,  that,  knowing  that  Thou, 
my  Lord,  didst  allow  Thyself  to  be  bound  for  me,' 
scourged  for  me,  spit  upon  for  me,  hanged  upon  a  cross 
to  die  for  me,— how  is  it  that  I  could  have  so  often 
despised  Thy  grace,  and  turned  my  back  upon  Thee  ? 
I  should  wish  to  die  of  grief  ;  I  repent,  and  am  sorry 
above  all  things. 

I  know  the  evil  that  I  have  done  in  separating  myself 
from  Thee,  my  Sovereign  Good.  I  ought  to  have  suf 
fered  any  pain,  any  evil,  any  death,  rather  than  to  offend 
Thee  ;  and  what  greater  evil  could  I  commit  than  that 
of  voluntarily  losing  Thy  grace?  Ah,  my  Jesus,  my 
greatest  affliction  is,  that  I  have  despised  Thy  infinite 
goodness  ! 

I  thank  Thee,  my  Lord,  for  the  sweet  promise  of  par 
don  that  Thou  hast  made  to  sinners,  of  forgetting  the 
sins  of  those  who  repent  of  having  offended  Thee  :  / 
will  not  remember  any  of  their  iniquities.1  It  is  all  the 
fruit  of  Thy  Passion.  O  sweet  Passion !  O  sweet 
mercy  !  O  sweet  love  of  Jesus  Christ  !  Thou  art  my 
hope.  What  would  have  become  of  me,  my  Jesus,  if 
Thou  hadst  not  died,  and  paid  the  debt  of  my  sins  ? 

O  God,  I  thought  of  offending  Thee,  whilst  Thou 
thoughtest  of  using  mercy  towards  me  !  After  my  sin, 
I  thought  not  of  repenting  ;  but  Thou  didst  think  to  call 
me.  Finally,  I  have  done  all  in  my  power  to  procure 
my  own  damnation  ;  and  Thou,  so  to  say,  hast  done  all 
Thou  couldst  not  to  see  me  damned.  Thou  art,  then,  an 
Infinite  Good,  and  I  have  despised  Thee  ;  Thou  art 'my 
Lord,  and  I  have  lost  the  respect  due  to  Thee  ;  Thou 
art  infinite  goodness,  and  I  have  turned  my  back  upon 

"Omnium  iniquitatum  ejus  .  .  .   non  recordabor."— Ezek.  xviii 
22. 


Pious  Sentiments.  4 1  5 

Thee  ;  Thou  art  worthy  of  infinite  love,  and  hast  loved 
me  so  much,  and  I  have  denied  Thee  my  love,  and  dis 
pleased  Thee  so  often.  But  Thou  hast  said  that  Thou 
canst  not  despise  a  heart  that  humbles  itself  and  re 
pents.  Behold,  I  embrace  Thy  cross  as  a  penitent  ;  I 
repent  with  all  my  heart  for  having  despised  Thee.  Re 
ceive  me  to  Thy  favor,  for  the  sake  of  that  blood  which 
Thou  hast  shed  for  me. 

0  Mary,  hope  of  sinners,  do  thou  obtain   pardon  for 
me,  perseverance,  and  the  love  of  Jesus  Christ ! 

IV. 
Sentiments  of  Purpose  of  Amendment. 

My  Jesus,  I  love  Thee,  and  firmly  resolve  to  lose  'all 
rather  than  forfeit  Thy  grace.  I  am  weak,  but  Thou 
art  strong.  Thy  strength  will  make  me  strong  against 
my  enemies.  This  I  hope  through  Thy  Passion  :  The 
Lord  is  my  light  and  my  salvation,  whom  shall  I  fear  ^  1 

1  am  not  afraid,  my  crucified  Lord,  of  losing  my  pos 
sessions,  my  relatives,  or  even  my  life  ;  I   fear  only  to 
lose  Thy  friendship  and  Thy  love.     I   am  afraid   that  I 
may  displease  Thee,  and  may  so  see  myself  deprived  of 
Thy  grace.     I  pray  Thee  to  keep  alive  in  me  this  holy 
love  ;  help  me  to  conquer  all,  that  I  may  please  Thee  in 
everything. 

"  Most  sweet  Jesus,  never  permit  me  to  be  separated 
from  Thee."  I  am  the  work  of  Thy  hands  ;  I  have  been 
redeemed  by  Thy  Blood  ;  do  not  abandon  me  to  the 
misfortune  of  losing  Thy  love,  and  of  separating  myself 
from  Thee.  Assist  me  always  in  the  dangers  which 
shall  befall  me,  and  make  me  ever  have  recourse  to  Thee 
in  them.  I  have  a  great  desire  to  be  faithful  to  Thee, 
and  to  live  alone  for  Thee  during  the  remainder  of  my 

1  "  Dominus  illuminatio  mea  et  salus  mea  ;  quern  timebo  ?"— PS, 
I, 


416  Pious  Sentiments. 

life  ;  do  Thou  give  me  the  necessary  strength.  This  do 
I  hope  from  Thee. 

My  Jesus,  increase  in  me  the  fear  of  displeasing  Thee. 
I  am  horrified  at  my  former  treachery  to  Thee.  But 
Thy  merits  console  me  ;  and  the  many  graces  that  Thou 
hast  given  me,  these  make  me  hope  that  Thou  wilt  not 
abandon  me,  now  that  I  love  Thee,  since  Thou  hust 
shown  me  so  much  mercy  while  I  thought  not  of  loving 
Thee.  I  do  not  trust  in  my  own  strength, — I  know  well 
how  little  it  is  worth, — I  confide  altogether  in  Thy  good 
ness  ;  and  I  firmly  hope  nevermore  to  see  myself  sepa 
rated  from  Thee. 

Oh  that  I  could  be  assured  that  I  should  never  lose 
Thee  again,  and  that  I  should  always  love  Thee  !  But 
I  resign  myself  to  Thy  divine  will,  which  so  disposes 
and  ordains  everything  for  my.  good,  that  I  should  live 
always  in  this  uncertainty  till  death,  to  make  me  strive 
after  a  closer  union  with  Thee,  and  to  pray  always, 
"  Permit  me  nevermore  to  be  separated  from  Thee." 
Yes,  my  Jesus,  I  repeat  it  (and  give  me  grace  always  to 
repeat  it)  :  "  Let  me  never  be  separated  from  Thee  !  let 
me  never  be  separated  from  Thee  !" 

My  Redeemer,  I  will  no  more  depart  from  Thee.  If 
all  men  should  leave  Thee,  I  will  not  leave  Thee,  even 
if  it  should  cost  me  my  life.  I  protest  that,  even  if  there 
was  neither  a  heaven  nor  a  hell,  I  would  not  leave  off 
loving  Thee  ;  because  Thou,  my  Love,  art  worthy  of 
infinite  love,  though  there  should  be  no  reward  for  those 
who  love  Thee,  nor  any  punishment  for  those  who  love 
Thee  not. 

Oh,  if  the  years  of  my  past  life  were  to  return,  I 
would  spend  them  all  in  loving  Thee  !  But  they  will 
never  return.  I  thank  Thee  for  having  waited  for  me, 
and  for  not  having  sent  me  to  hell  as  I  deserved.  And 
since  Thou  hast  waited  for  me,  I  consecrate  the  rest  of 
my  life  to  Thee  :  I  wish  that  all  my  thoughts,  my  de- 


Pious  Sentiments.  417 

sires,  and  my  affections  should  serve  only  to  please  Thee, 
and  to  fulfil  Thy  holy  will. 

My  beloved  Jesus,  I  will  not  wait  till  Thou  shalt  be 
given  to  me  at  the  point  of  death  to  embrace  Thee.  I  em 
brace  Thee  now,  and  press  myself  closely  to  Thy  nailed 
feet.  My  crucified  love,  to  obtain  for  me  a  good  death, 
Thou  hast  condescended  to  die  a  most  agonizing  and 
sorrowful  death.  At  that  hour,  when  every  one  will 
abandon  me,  do  not  Thou  abandon  me,  my  Redeemer  ; 
permit  me  not  to  lose  Thee,  or  to  separate  myself  from 
Thee.  Receive  me  into  Thy  sacred  wounds  ;  and  may 
my  soul  there  breathe  itself  out  in  loving  sighs,  that  it 
may  come  where  Thou  art  to  love  Thee  forever. 

V. 
Sentiments  of  Love. 

O  most  loving  Pastor  of  Thy  sheep  !  for  Thou  hast 
spent,  not  all  Thy  riches,  but  all  Thy  Blood  for  them. 
O  the  goodness  !  O  the  love  !  O  the  tenderness  of  a  God 
for  souls  !  Oh  that  I  also,  my  Jesus,  could  give  my 
blood  and  my  life  on  a  cross,  or  under  the  axe,  for  the 
love  of  Thee,  who  hast  given  Thy  life  on  the  cross  for 
me  !  May  all  angels  and  men  eternally  praise  Thy  in 
finite  charity  towards  men  !  Oh  that  by  my  death  I 
could  make  all  men  love  Thee  !  Graciously  receive,  my 
Lord,  this  my  desire;  and  give  me  grace  to  suffer  some 
thing  for  Thee  before  I  die. 

Ah,  the  martyrs  have  done  but  little,  O  Saviour  of  the 
world,  in  suffering  torments,  the  rack,  iron  hooks,  burn 
ing  helmets,  and  in  embracing  the  most  cruel  deaths  for 
the  love  of  Thee,  their  God,  who  didst  die  for  the  love 
of  them.  Thou  hast  died  for  me  also;  and  what  have  I 
done  as  yet,  during  all  my  life,  for  Thy  love  ?  My 
Jesus,  let  me  not  die  in  this  state.  I  love  Thee;  and  I 
offer  myself  to  suffer  for  Thee  as  much  as  Thou  wilt, 
27 


4i 8  Pious  Sentiments. 

Accept  this  my  offer,  and  give  me  strength  to  put  it  in 
execution. 

My  crucified  Jesus  !  from  Thy  cross  Thou  didst  fore 
see  the  offences  I  should  commit  against  Thee;  and,  at 
the  same  time,  Thou  were  procuring  my  pardon.  Thou 
didst  foresee  my  destruction,  and  didst  prepare  the 
remedy.  Thou  didst  foresee  my  ingratitude,  and  Thou 
didst  prepare  for  me  remorse,  fear,  lights  of  salvation, 
calls  to  repentance,  spiritual  consolations,  the  tenderness 
and  all  the  endearments  of  Thy  charity.  Thou  didst 
vie  with  me  to  see  which  should  conquer, — I  in  offending 
Thee,  or  Thou  in  redoubling  Thy  graces  to  me;  I  in 
provoking  Thee  to  punish  me,  or  Thou  in  drawing  me 
to  Thy  love.  When,  my  God,  shall  I  have  overcome  all 
things  to  please  Thee,  who  hast  given  Thy  life  for  me? 
When  shall  I  see  myself  detached  from  all,  to  be  united 
to  Thee  and  to  Thy  holy  will  ?  I  desire  it,  and  wish  to 
perform  it;  but  Thou  must  enable  me  to  do  so.  I  have 
not  the  strength  to  put  it  in  effect.  Thou  hast  promised 
to  hear  those  that  pray  to  Thee;  I  beseech  Thee,  with 
all  my  heart,  not  to  let  me  live  and  die  ungrateful  for 
so  much  goodness. 

O  Word  Incarnate  !  O  Man  of  sorrows,  born  to  live  a 
life  full  of  woes  !  O  first  and  last  of  men  ! — first,  because 
Thou  art  God,  Lord  of  all  ;  last,  because  in  this  world 
Thou  wast  contented  to  be  ill-treated  like  the  vilest  of 
men, — even  to  suffer  blows,  spitting,  mockeries,  and 
curses  from  the  very  scum  of  the  people.  O  divine 
lamb  !  O  Infinite  love,  and  worthy  of  infinite  love  !  who 
hast  given  Thy  blood  and  Thy  life  for  me,  I  love  Thee, 
and  I  offer  Thee  my  blood  and  my  life;  but  what  is  the 
blood  of  a  worm  in  comparison  to  the  blood  of  a  God  ? 
— the  life  of  a  sinner  to  the  life  of  an  Infinite  Majesty? 

My  beloved  Jesus,  who,  urged,  on  by  the  bowels  of 
Thy  mercy,  didst  come  on  earth  to  seek  us  lost  sheep, 
ah;  do  not  cease  to  seek  me  in  my  misery  till  Thou  hast 


Pious  Sentiments.  419 

found  me  !  Remember  that  for  me  also  Thou  didst  shed 
Thy  blood. 

O  my  Jesus  !  who  for  my  love  didst  deign  to  be  sacri 
ficed  on  the  cross,  there  to  die  consumed  with  grief,  I 
love  Thee;  and  I  desire  to  sacrifice  myself  entirely  to 
Thy  love.  Stretch  forth  one  of  Thy  pierced  hands,  and 
raise  me  from  the  mire  of  my  sins;  heal  the  many 
wounds  of  my  soul;  burn,  destroy  in  me  all  those  affec 
tions  which  belong  not  to  Thee.  Thou  canst  do  this; 
grant  it,  then,  for  the  sake  of  Thy  Passion.  This  do  I 
hope. 

Because  Thou  hast  loved  me,  Thou  hast  not  denied 
me  Thy  blood  and  Thy  life:  I,  because  I  love  Thee,  will 
deny  Thee  nothing  Thou  dost  require  of  me.  Without 
reserve  Thou  hast  given  Thyself  all  to  me  in  Thy  Pas 
sion  and  in  the  Sacrament  of  the  Altar;  I,  without  re 
serve,  give  myself  all  to  Thee.  Tell  me  what  Thou  de- 
sirest  of  me,  and  by  Thy  help  I  will  do  it  all. 

O  ye  damned  souls  !  speak,  and  say,  from  the  prison 
in  which  you  are,  what  torments  you  most  in  hell, — the 
fire  that  burns  you,  or  the  love  which  Jesus  Christ  has 
borne  you  ?  Ah,  assuredly  the  hell  of  your  hell  is  this  : 
to  see  that  a  God  came  down  from  heaven  to  earth  to 
save  you,  and  you,  shutting  your  eyes  to  the  light,  have 
chosen  of  your  own  free  will  to  be  lost,  and  to  lose  this 
infinite  good,  even  your  God,  who  will  be  yours  no 
longer,  nor  will  you  ever  be  able  to  regain  him. 

Ah,  my  Jesus  !  my  treasure,  my  life,  my  consolation, 
my  love,  my  all  !  I  thank  Thee  for  the  light  that  Thou 
givest  me.  I  love  Thee;  and  I  fear  nothing  but  to  lose 
Thee,  and  to  see  myself  deprived  of  the  power  to  love 
Thee.  Grant  that  I  may  love  Thee,  and  then  do  with 
me  what  Thou  wilt. 

My  crucified  Jesus  !  ah,  break  the  chains  of  my  inor 
dinate  affections,  which  prevent  me  from  being  wholly 
united  to  Thee,  and  bind  me  by  the  golden  links  of  Thy 


420  Pious  Sentiments. 

love;  but  bind  me  so  tightly,  that  I  shall  never  be  able 
to  loose  myself  from  Thee.  The  artifices  of  love  that 
Thou  hast  used  towards  me  were  sufficient  to  bind  me  ; 
but  I  do  not  see  myself  united  to  Thee  as  I  would  wish. 
Do  Thou  accomplish  this;  Thou  alone  canst  do  it.  O 
love  of  my  Jesus,  Thou  art  my  love  and  my  hope  !  My 
Jesus,  I  desire  Thy  pure  love,  free  from  all  interest  of 
my  own;  and  I  care  not  if  I  am  deprived  of  all  personal 
satisfaction.  Make  me  love  Thee,  and  that  alone  is 
sufficient  for  me.  I  know,  my  Lord,  that  Thou  desirest 
my  love.  This  is  why  Thou  hast  not  sent  me  to  hell, 
and  why  for  so  many  years  Thou  hast  drawn  near  to 
me,  and  hast  made  these  words  sound  in  my  ears  : 
"  Love  Me,  love  me  with  all  thy  heart."  Tell  me  what  I 
must  do  in  order  to  please  Thee  fully.  Behold  me  now; 
I  give  Thee  my  wyill,  my  liberty,  my  whole  self:  I 
know  not  what  more  to  give  Thee.  In  this  world  I  de 
sire  neither  pleasures  nor  honors;  the  only  happiness  and 
honor  that  I  desire  is  to  be  all  Thine.  Do  Thou  accept 
me.  Help  me  with  Thy  grace,  and  never  abandon  me  : 
Be  Thou  my  helper;  forsake  me  not.  Do  not  Thou  despise 
me,  O  God,  my  Saviour.1  My  love  and  my  Saviour, 
despise  me  not  as  I  have  deserved.  Remember  how 
much  my  soul  has  cost  Thee,  and  save  me.  My  salva 
tion  is  to  love  Thee,  and  to  love  none  but  Thee." 

My  Jesus,  I  wish  for  none  but  Thee.  Thou  hast  said 
that  Thou  lovest  those  that  love  Thee.2  I  love  Thee; 
do  Thou  also  love  me.  There  was  a  time  when  I  saw 
myself  hated  by  Thee  for  my  sins;  but  now  I  detest 
them  more  than  any  other  evil,  and  I  love  Thee  above 
all  things.  Do  Thou  also  love  me,  and  hate  me  no 
more.  I  fear  Thy  hatred  more  than  all  the  pains  of 
hell. 

1  "Adjutor  meus  esto;    ne   derelinquas  me,    neque  despicias    me, 
Deus  salutaris  meus." — Ps.  xxvi.  9. 
*  "Ego  diligentes  me  diligo."—  Prov.  viii.  17. 


Ptous  Sentiments.  421 

My  beloved  Redeemer,  I  will  say  to  myself,  with  St. 
Teresa:  "Since  I  must  live,  may  I  live  only  for  Thee. 
Let  our  own  interests  be  put  an  end  to.  What  can  be 
a  greater  gain  than  to  please  Thee  ?" 

VI. 
Sentiments  of  Conformity  to  the  Will  of  God. 

My  Jesus,  every  time  that  I  say  "  Blessed  be  God,"  or 
"  May  the  divine  will  be  done,"  I  intend  to  accept  all 
that  Thau  hast  ordained  for  me  both  in  time  and  in 
eternity. 

I  desire  no  other  office,  no  other  habitation,  no  other 
clothing,  no  other  food,  no  other  health,  but  what  it 
shall  please  Thee  to  send  me. 

I  wish  for  no  other  employment,  no  other  talent,  no 
other  fortune  than  that  which  Thou  hast  destined  for 
me. 

If  Thou  dost  will  that  I  should  not  succeed  in  my 
affairs;  that  my  undertakings  should  fail;  that  my  law 
suits  should  be  lost;  that  my  possessions  should  be 
taken  away  from  me, — this  also  is  my  will. 

If  Thou  wishest  me  to  be  despised,  looked  upon  with 
ill-will,  that  others  should  be  preferred  to  me,  that  I 
should  be  defamed  and  ill-treated  even  by  my  dearest 
friends, — this  is  my  will  also. 

If  Thou  dost  will  that  I  should  be  made  poor  in  all 
things,  that  I  should  be  an  exile  from  my  country,  im 
prisoned  in  a  dungeon,  and  should  be  forced  to  live  in 
continual  sorrow  and  affliction, — this  also  is  my  will. 

If  Thou  wiliest  that  I  should  be  always  ill,  full  of 
wounds,  lame,  obliged  to  remain  in  my  bed  abandoned 
by  all, — this  I  desire  also. 

May  all  be  as  Thou  pleasest,  and  as  long  as  Thou 
pleasest.  I  put  my  very  life  into  Thy  hands,  and  accept 
whatever  death  Thou  hast  destined  for  me  ;  and  I  also 


422  Pious  Sentiments. 

accept  the  death  of  my  relatives  and  friends,  and  all  that 
Thou  shalt  ordain. 

I  also  unite  my  will  to  Thine  in  all  that  regards  my 
spiritual  welfare.  I  desire  to  love  Thee  in  this  life  with 
all  my  strength,  and  to  attain  paradise,  that  I  may  love 
Thee  as  the  seraphim  love  Thee  ;  but  I  am  content  with 
that  which  Thou  dost  will  for  me.  If  Thou  dost  will  to 
give  me  but  one  single  degree  of  love,  of  grace,  of  glory, 
I  wish  for  no  more,  because  it  is  Thy  will.  I  value  more 
the  fulfilment  of  Thy  will  than  anything  that  I  could 
gain  for  myself. 

In  fine,  my  God,  dispose  of  me  and  of  my  affairs  as  it 
pleases  Thee.  Look  not  at  my  pleasure  ;  for  I  desire 
nothing  but  what  is  in  conformity  to  Thy  will.  Whether 
Thy  treatment  of  me  be  harsh  or  kind,  pleasant  or  un 
pleasant  to  me,  I  accept  and  embrace  it,  because  both 
the  one  and  the  other  come  to  me  from  Thy  hand. 

My  Jesus,  I  accept  besides,  in  an  especial  manner,  my 
death,  with  all  the  pains  which  shall  accompany  it,  ac 
cording  to  Thy  will,  where  Thou  wilt,  and  at  the  time 
Thou  wilt.  I  unite  them,  my  Saviour,  with  Thy  death  ; 
and  I  offer  them  to  Thee  in  testimony  of  the  love  I  bear 
Thee.  I  desire  to  die  to  please  Thee,  and  to  fulfil  Thy 
holy  will. 

VII. 

Diverse  Affections. 

Oh,  the  unhappy  state  of  a  soul  that  is  in  sin  and  that 
has  lost  God!  It  lives  on  in  wretchedness,  but  lives 
without  God.  God  sees  it,  but  no  longer  loves  it  ;  he 
hates  and  abhors  it.  There  was  then,  my  soul,  a  time 
when  thou  didst  live  without  Gel  The  sight  of  thee 
no  longer  rejoiced  the  heart  of  Jesus  Christ,  as  it  did 
when  thou  wast  in  his  grace,  but  was  hateful  to  him. 
The  blessed  Virgin  regarded  thee  with  compassion,  but 
detested  thy  deformity.  When  hearing  Mass  thou  didst 


Pious  Sentiments.  423 

see  Jesus  Christ  in  the  consecrated  Host,  who  had 
become  thine  enemy. 

Ah,  my  God,  despised  and  lost  by  me,  pardon  me,  and 
let  me  again  find  Thee  !  I  wished  to  lose  Thee,  but 
Thou  wouldst  not  abandon  me.  And  if  Thou  hast  not 
yet  returned  to  me,  I  pray  Thee  to  come  to  me  now  that 
I  repent  with  all  my  heart  for  having  offended  Thee. 
Let  me  be  sensible  of  Thy  return  to  me,  by  feeling  a 
great  sorrow  for  my  sins,  and  a  great  love  towards  Thee. 

My  beloved  Lord,  rather  than  see  myself  separated 
from  Thee  and  deprived  of  Thy  grace,  I  am  content  to 
suffer  any  punishment.  Eternal  Father,  for  the  love  of 
Jesus  Christ,  I  pray  Thee  to  give  me  grace  nevermore 
to  offend  Thee  till  my  death  ;  may  I  die  rather  than 
turn  my  back  upon  Thee  afresh. 

Ah,  my  crucified  Jesus,  look  on  me  with  the  same  love 
with  which  Thou  didst  look  on  me  when  dying  on  the 
cross  for  me  ;  look  on  me,  and  have  pity  on  me  ;  give 
me  a  general  pardon  for  all  the  displeasure  1  have  given 
Thee  ;  give  me  holy  perseverance  ;  give  me  Thy  holy 
love  ;  give  me  a  perfect  conformity  to  Thy  will  ;  give 
me  paradise,  that  I  may  love  Thee  there  forever.  I 
deserve  nothing;  but  Thy  wounds  encourage  me  to 
hope  for  every  good  from  Thee.  Ah,  Jesus  of  my  soul, 
by  that  love  which  made  Thee  die  for  me,  give  me  Thy 
love.  Take  away  from  me  all  affection  to  creatures,  give 
me  resignation  in  tribulation,  and  make  Thyself  the 
object  of  all  my  affections,  that  from  this  day  forward  I 
may  love  none  other  but  Thee. 

Thou  hast  created  me,  Thou  hast  redeemed  me,  Thou 
hast  made  me  a  Christian,  Thou  hast  preserved  me  whilst 
I  was  in  sin,  Thou  hast  pardoned  me  many  times;  above 
all,  instead  of  chastisements  Thou  hast  increased  Thy 
favors  tome;  who  should  love  Thee,  if  I  do  not?  Arise, 
and  let  Thy  mercy  triumph  over  me  ;  and  may  the  fire 


424 


Pious  Sentiments. 


of  love  with  which  I  burn  for  Thee  be  as  great  as  the  fire 
which  should  have  devoured  me  in  hell,  O  my  Jesus,  my 
love,  my  treasure,  my  paradise,  my  all  ! 

O  Incarnation,  O  Redemption,  O  Passion  of  Jesus 
Christ!  O  Calvary,  O  scourges,  O  thorns,  O  nails,  O 
cross  that  did  torment  my  Lord!  O  sweet  names, 
which  remind  me  of  the  love  which  a  God  has  had  for 
me,  never  depart  from  my  mind  and  my  heart;  remind 
me  always  of  the  pains  which  Jesus  my  Redeemer  has 
willed  to  suffer  for  me  !  O  most  sacred  wounds,  ye  are 
the  perpetual  resting-place  of  my  soul;  ye  are  the 
blessed  furnaces  where  it  forever  burns  with  divine 
love  ! 

My  beloved  Jesus,  I  have  deserved  hell,  and  to  be  for 
ever  separated  from  Thee  ;  I  refuse  not  the  fire  nor  the 
other  pains  of  hell,  if  Thou  for  my  just  punishment  dost 
will  to  send  me  there  ;  but  what  I  cannot  consent  to  is, 
not  to  be  able  to  love  Thee  any  more.  Let  me  love  Thee, 
and  then  send  me  where  Thou  wilt.  It  is  just  that  I 
should  suffer  for  my  sins;  but  it  is  not  just  that  I  should 
have  to  hate  and  curse  him  who  has  created  me,  who  has 
redeemed  me,  and  who  has  loved  me  so  much:  justice 
requires  that  I  should  love  and  bless  Thee  forever.  I 
bless  Thee,  then,  and  love  Thee,  Jesus  my  Love;  and  I 
hope  to  love  and  bless  Thee  for  all  eternity. 

My  sweet  Redeemer,  I  know  that  Thou  dost  wish  me 
to  be  wholly  Thine.  Ah,  permit  not  that,  from  this  day 
forward,  creatures  should  have  any  part  in  that  love 
which  belongs  altogether  to  Thee.  Thou  alone  dost 
deserve  all  my  affections,  Thou  alone  art -infinitely  beau 
tiful,  Thou  alone  hast  truly  loved  me  ;  Thee  alone,  then, 
will  I  love,  and  I  will  do  all  that  I  can  to  please  Thee.  I 
renounce  all, — pleasures,  riches,  honors,  and  all  ;he  crea 
tures  of  the  earth  ;  Thou  alone,  my  Jesus,  art  sufficient 
for  me.  Away  from  me,  all  earthly  affections!  Once 


Pious  Sentiments.  425 

upon  a  time  you  had  a  place  in  my  heart;  but  then  I 
was  blind:  now  that  God  by  his  grace  has  enlightened 
me,  and  has  made  me  know  the  vanity  of  this  world  and 
the  love  which  he  has  borne  me,  and  that  he  desires  me 
to  give  him  all  my  love,  I  will  consecrate  it  to  him  alone. 
Yes,  my  Jesus,  take  possession  of  my  whole  heart;  and  if 
I  know  not  how  to  give  it  to  Thee  entirely  as  Thou  de- 
sirest,  take  it  Thyself,  and  make  it  Thine  own.  I  love 
Thee,  my  God,  with  all  my  heart;  I  love  Thee  more  than 
myself;  draw  me,1  my  Lord,  all  to  Thee,  and  destroy  in 
me  the  love  of  all  created  things. 

O  Paradise,  O  country  of  loving  souls,  O  kingdom  of 
love,  O  sure  haven  where  God  is  loved  for  all  eternity, 
and  where  there  is  no  more  fear  of  losing  him  !  when 
shall  I  pass  thy  threshold,  and  see  myself  free  from  this 
miserable  body,  and  delivered  from  the  many  enemies 
which  continually  try  to  deceive  me  in  order  to  deprive 
me  of  divine  grace  ?  Ah,  my  crucified  Jesus,  discover  to 
me  the  immense  riches  that  Thou  hast  prepared  for  the 
souls  that  love  Thee.  Give  me  a  great  desire  of  possess 
ing  Paradise,  so  that,  forgetting  this  world,  I  may  there 
make  my  continual  abode;  and  whilst  I  live,  may  I  have 
no  other  desire  than  to  come  to  see  Thee  and  love  Thee 
face  to  face  in  thy  kingdom.  I  do  not  deserve  this,  and 
I  know  that  at  one  time  my  name  was  written  amongst 
those  who  were  condemned  to  hell  ;  but  now  that  I  am, 
as  I  hope,  in  Thy  grace,  I  beseech  Thee  by  that  blood 
which  Thou  didst  shed  for  me  on  the  cross,  to  write  me 
in  the  Book  of  Life.  Thou  hast  died  to  gain  Paradise 
for  me:  I  wish  for  this,  I  ardently  desire  it,  and  I  hope 
to  attain  it  through  Thy  merits,  that  I  may  there  ascend, 
to  be  consumed  with  Thy  love  by  loving  Thee  with  all 
my  strength.  There,  forgetting  myself  and  everything 
else,  I  shall  think  only  of  loving  Thee,  I  shall  desire 

1  "  Trahe  me."—  Cant.  i.  3. 


426  Pious  Sentiments. 

nothing  but  to  love  Thee,  and  I  shall  do  nothing  but 
love  Thee.  O  my  Jesus,  when  shall  this  be  ?  O  Mary, 
Mother  of  God,  by  thy  prayers  bring  me  to  Paradise. 
"  Turn,  then,  most  gracious  advocate,  thy  eyes  of  mercy 
towards  us;  and  after  this  our  exile  show  unto  us  the 
fruit  of  thy  womb,  Jesus."  l 

"  Eia  ergo,  Advocata  nostra !  .   .   .   Jesum,  benedictum  Fructum 
ventris  tui,  nobis  post  hoc  exsilium  osiende." 


Sighs  of  Love  towards  God.  427 


of  £ot)£  toumrbs 
I. 

Lord,  who  am   I,  that  Thou   hast  loved   me  so  much, 
and  that  Thou  shouldst  so  much  desire  to  be  loved  by 

me  ? 

0  my  God,  worthy  of   infinite   love  !   I   love   Thee,  or 
rather,  I  should  say,  I  love  Thee  not. 

1  love  Thee  above  all  things;  more  than  my  life,  more 
than  myself;  but  still  T  see  that  I  love  Thee  too  little. 

0  King  of  Heaven!  make  Thyself    also   King  of  my 
heart,  possess  me  entirely. 

II. 

1  leave  all,  and  turn  to  Thee.     I  embrace  Tnee,  I  press 
Thee  to  my  soul;  despise  me  not,  immeasurable  good;  I 
love  Thee. 

Now  that  Thou  hast  united  me  to  Thee,  O  my  Jesus, 
how  can  I  see  myself  separated  from  Thee  ?  I  love  Thee, 
and  will  never  cease  to  love  Thee. 

Unite  Thyself  to  me,  Lord;  let  not  the  corruption  of 
my  sins  drive  Thee  away  from  me. 

III. 

O  God,  O  God!  whom  shall  I  love,  if  I  love  not  Thee, 
my  life,  my  love,  my  all  ? 

Chosen  among  thousands.'  My  God,  Thee  only,  Thee 
alone  do  I  choose  for  my  love. 

My  Redeemer,  I  desire  no  other  but  Thee. 

1  "  Electus  ex  millibus."—  Cant.  v.  10. 


428  Sighs  of  Love  towards  God. 

Oh  that  I  might  be  wholly  consumed  for  Thee,  who 
wast  entirely  consumed  for  me  ! 

Take  possession,  Lord,  of  my  whole  will,  and  do  with 
me  what  Thou  pleasest. 


IV. 

O  God  not  known  !  O  God  not  loved  !  he  is  a  fool 
that  loves  Thee  not. 

O  my  God!  when  I  sinned  I  well  knew  that  I  was 
greatly  displeasing  Thee:  have  I  done  so  ?  could  I  do  so  ? 

If  I  had  died  then,  I  should  no  longer  have  been  able 
to  love  Thee.  Now  that  I  can,  I  will  love  Thee. 

Lord,  after  having  given  me  so  many  graces,  permit 
me  not  to  betray  Thee  again.  Let  me  sooner  die. 

Thou  hast  borne  with  me,  that  I  might  love  Thee. 
Yes,  I  will  love  Thee. 

My  God,  Thou  hast  conquered  me;  I  will  withstand 
Thee  no  longer,  I  surrender  myself  to  Thee. 

V. 

0  God!   how  many  years  have  I  not  lost  when  I  might 
have  been  loving  Thee  ! 

1  consecrate   to  Thee,  my  God,  the   remainder  of  my 
life;  and  who  can  tell  how  long  it  may  be? 

VI. 

What  are  riches?  what  are  honors?  what  are  pleas 
ures?  God,  God,  I  desire  God  alone. 

O  King  of  hearts,  reign  in  my  heart.  Ah,  draw  me  all 
to  Thee  ! 

Bind  me,  O  God,  to  Thee,  in  such  a  way  that  I  shall 
never  be  able  to  loose  myself  from  Thee. 

Thou  wilt  not  leave  me,  I  will  not  leave  Thee.  Then 
we  shall  always  love  each  other,  O  my  God,  O  my  God. 


Sighs  of  Love  towards  God.  429 

VII. 

Ah,  make  me  all  Thine  before  I  die,  my  Jesus,  my 
love,  my  life,  my  treasure,  my  all. 

Ah,  my  Jesus  and  my  judge,  the  first  time  I  see  Thee 
may  it  be  with  a  propitious  countenance  ! 

When  shall  I  be  able  to  say,  "  My  God,  my  God,  I 
cannot  lose  Thee  any  more?" 

When,  Lord,  shall  I  see  Thee  as  Thou  art,  and  con 
template  Thee  face  to  face  for  all  eternity  with  my  whole 
strength  ? 

Ah,  my  Infinite  Good,  as  long  as  I  live,  then,  do  J 
stand  in  danger  of  losing  Thee. 

My  Jesus,  what  hast  Thou  not  done  to  oblige  me  to 
love'Thee?  Yes,  I  will  love  Thee.  I  love  Thee,  I  love 
Thee,  I  love  Thee. 

VIII. 
O  Eternal  Father!  for  the  love  of  Jesus  give  me  Thy 

love. 

Permit  one  of  the  most  ungrateful  creatures  that  have 
ever  lived  on  the  earth  to  love  Thee. 

My  God,  I  will  love  Thee  exceedingly  in  this  life,  that 
I  may  love  Thee  exceedingly  in  the  next. 

IX. 

0  my  Jesus!  Thou  hast  given  Thyself  all  to  me;  I  will 
give  myself  all  to  Thee. 

"  What  greater  pleasure  can  I  have  than  to  please  Thee, 

my  God  ? 

My  beloved  Jesus,  I  desire  to  love  Thee  as  much  as  I 
have  offended  Thee. 

X. 

1  love   Thee,  Infinite   Goodness;  make  me   know  the 
great  good  that  I  love. 


430  Sighs  of  Love  towards  God. 

My  Jesus,  Thou  art  the  vine,  I  am  one  of  Thy  branch 
es;  keep  me  always  united  to  Thee;  never  let  me  de 
tach  myself  from  Thee. 

O  my  God,  how  much  do  I  rejoice  in  that  Thou  art 
infinitely  happy  ! 

XI. 

Ah,  Lord,  where  art  Thou  ?  Art  Thou  with  me  or 
not  ?  Am  I  in  Thy  grace  or  not  ?  Thou  knowest  that  I 
love  Thee,  I  love  Thee;  I  love  Thee  more  than  myself. 

Give  me,  my  Jesus,  that  love  which  Thou  requirest  of 


me. 


Oh  that  I  had  always  loved  Thee  ! 

Oh,  if  I  did  but  love  Thee,  my  God,  if  I  did  but  love 
Thee  !  I  love  Thee,  but  I  love  Thee  too  little. 

Help  me,  Lord,  to  love  Thee  much,  and  to  overcome 
all  things  to  please  Thee. 

XII. 

I  give  Thee  my  will.  I  desire  nothing  but  that  which 
Thou  desirest. 

I  seek  not  consolations  from  Thee;  I  desire  only  to 
please  Thee,  my  God,  my  love,  my  all. 

0  infinite  God!  I  am  not  worthy  to  love  Thee;   suffer 
me  to  love  Thee. 

1  hope  to  love  Thee  forever,  O  Eternal  God  ! 

O  my  dear  Jesus!  Thou  hast  suffered  so  much  for  me; 
I  desire  to  suffer  for  Thee  as  much  as  it  shall  please 
Thee. 

O  God  of  my  soul!  I  can  trust  myself  no  longer  to 
live  without  loving  Thee. 

O  will  of  God,  Thou  art  all  my  love. 

XIII. 

O  Omnipotent  God!    make  me  a  saint. 
It  will  be  for  Thy  glory,  Lord,  to  make  one  who  was 
Thine  enemy  become  Thy  loving  servant. 


Sighs  of  Love  towards  God.  43 1 

Thou  didst  seek  me,  my  God,  while  I  was  yet  flying 
from  Thee;  Thou  wilt  not  discard  me  now  that  I  seek 
Thee. 

My  most  loving  Jesus,  in  order  to  pardon  me  Thou 
hast  not  pardoned  Thyself. 

I  thank  Thee  for  giving  me  time  to  love  Thee.  Yes, 
my  God,  I  love  Thee,  I  love  Thee,  I  lov